Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Dark Side


"We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English."
- Winston Churchill
My maternal side, the dark side, seems to be moving through my veins of late. Perhaps it's Ganeida's talk of the Celts or perhaps it's simply a cycle I go through. My maternal grandparents hale from the land of Eire. Ireland. Black Irish, dark, small, morose and fierce. Spanish blood through invasion and rape. A different look from the light-skinned and fair-haired Celts.

I had an entirely different Irish experience from the many people I knew, being from the heavily Irish town of St. Paul I knew many. The direct experience, as opposed to a few generations removed. I never understood the silly leprechaun image, or the jovial, laughing redhead. St. Patrick's Day celebration was forbidden.

I knew kind, but stern. Prone to heavy moods and then lyrical talk. These were a people who struggled mightily in a harsh landscape and the landscape became as much of their person as was their skin. Demanding and accepting, a real enigma wrapped in a riddle. An affection for the religion, but a deep pragmatic understanding of life as it is. When I read Angela's Ashes I saw the Irish that I knew, aside from the drunken father. I understood that book at a very deep level.

I guess it's in the blood. I got the moods, but I didn't get the lyrical tongue and that hardly seems fair.


4 comments:

  1. I love the quote!:) Can I steal it? I enjoyed this post ~ naturally. I can't make this silly thing do a wry smile but while I haven't read Angela's Ashes I do know what you mean in a roundabout way. After visiting Scotland I began to understand the whole *dour Scots* thing. Over the centuries eveything has literally been taken & the people ground down. My Scots grandfather wasn't in the least sentimental. I saw why. Still. I forget where the quote's from but something about *the best export the Celtic nations had is their people* is sadly all too true. Anyway I agree with your views & while I know where the leprachaun thing's come from it's been made into a silly touristy thing. Anything from the Sidhe was never twee or silly; mostly it was rather scary. The advertising lot should be shot.

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  2. Surely you may! I know of the leprechaun, but I didn't understand the goofy image. : )

    Grinding, unrelenting poverty does something to a people. And when another nation's boot is at the neck, it does something more.

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  3. Starvation doesn't help either. :(
    I'd say the Wesh came off best in the clash with the English but it has taken them centuries to try & reclaim their language. Interestingly the Saxon's were the one people none of the Celts really attempted to Christianize; they were consided that vicious & unreachable & the hatred they exhibited towards the Celtic peoples was unrelenting.

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  4. Although not Christian, my father's family came from Great Britain and were early settlers of Rhode Island. You can imagine my upbringing, I think!

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I really appreciate the concept and sentiment behind awards, but I cannot participate in them anymore. I have too may and I have not got the time to devote to participating properly. To all who have honored me, I am grateful but I don't have seven more things to tell anyone about myself! And I'm a terrible passer-oner.