Friday, August 19, 2016

Eileen Aroon

Here's the first of the "Where Splendour Falls" blogposts. You can buy the album on digital download and vinyl here. 

The song Eileen Aroon is one I've been attached to for many the year. The song itself, has been around for at least half a millennium. The version I sing here is from the early 19th century, it was composed/adapted by Gerald Griffin. 


When like the dawning day Eileen Aroon
Love sends its early rays Eileen Aroon
What makes the dawning glow, changeless through joy or woe?
Only the constant know, Eileen Aroon

I know a valley fair, Eileen Aroon
I know a cottage there, Eileen Aroon
Deep in that valley's shade I know a tender maid
Flow'r of the hazel glade, Eileen Aroon

Who in the song so sweet, Eileen Aroon
Who in the dance so fleet, Eileen Aroon
Dear were her charms to me, dearer her laughter free
Dearest her constancy, Eileen Aroon

Were she no longer true, Eileen Aroon
What would her lover do, Eileen Aroon?
Fly with a broken chain, far o'er the boundless main
Never to love again, Eileen Aroon

Youth must in time decay, Eileen Aroon
Beauty must fade away, Eileen Aroon
Castles are sacked in war, chieftains are scattered far
Truth is a fixed star, Eileen Aroon.

Gerald Griffin (1803-1840)

Below are some ramblings I wrote with the song in my mind. I will revisit those rambling to mould something more concrete in the coming years. For now, have a read of those unedited wanderings while you listen to the song! 

Aghadoe, Killarney
The land itself made us, fashioned like the curves of rock, stubborn as stubble, the bristle of fur like gorse, eroded stone smooth. Sweet as a song echoing down centuries, a stone thrown by copper mines, a bugle blown on the broad, bright lake brings us back. Once you were a person but now you're a song, a melody straying, wandering, never back to the beginning but always on. There is a woman, eyes closed. A vessel filled with intent-she pours her heart into song.

A young harper in his hut recites the lineage of his clan as his master listens in the darkness. When they finish their study the master sings a song recently heard from a harper who came from the north. As he listens he drifts off into the melody, into reverie. The harper thinks "from darkness must come light." He imagines a bright may morning, the wind is high and it blows up a fresh gust that runs up from rolling planes. Maigh Ealla, flood plane of the swans, a palace of possibilities. We are what we want to be, like the bee covered in fur for pollen with it's million of eyes for seeing. The master, as the last note sounds, smiles. The hut is dark, the masters eyes are closed, for music is sweetest in the dark.

Now, close your eyes, remember the curve of the hill, smooth as a breast over looking lakes. Many women wouldn't climb the fence into that field to follow me to the brow of the hill, but you lept over it and I showed you more than those lovely lakes.

In a strange city, recently arrived. This town is a young mans game too many hills. Men walk into pubs never to walk out again, except for a puff of smoke, then gone in up in a flame, in a flash, shrines are built in their honour next to the frayed edges of their pension books. Their pictures and walking sticks on yellowing walls decay.

John begins to warble again from his pleasant cushioned corner, “Were you no longer true, what would I do.” "Jesus John," she says. "Why do you always wake me from my dreaming?" “Your like a bird in a gilded cage, what good is gold to you when it is your chains, shackled to the wall in golden manacles, I, me, meself and I, I'm like a crow on a wire king of the town. This is my time in the sun, and I'll sit on this fence 'til I'm kicked off."

1 comment:

Unknown said...

reminds me of an spailpin fanach the wandering trades man