St Pat`s Edition

Rockaway Park NY, March 17 2010 in the 39th year of the Society
At St Pat`s Day, the Rockaway Park Philosophical Society celebrates the beginning of its philosophical year, its 39th. On this day we lay aside the concerns of the self-proclaimed world empires, real and pretended, to celebrate the world of the imagination. Keltic thought greatly differs from Anglo progressivism regaled in the US as the gospel of progress. Keltic thought is cyclical rather than linear or progressive; dualistic rather than one-dimensional; anecdotal rather than psuedo-scientific.
Micheál (Pronounced for the day mee-hawl)
Levy: Quote of The Day

"If you are going though hell right now don`t stop, keep moving though and soon you will see the light of love & joy on the other side."

"Wishful thinking can produce amazing results via:-The Joys of Live Alchemy."

"You are an eternal moment in the illusion of time...In-Joy!."

~ Micheál (Pronounced for the day mee-hawl) Levy
Point of Life

Geoff Jackson:
(Siothran Coinneach)
The News that is Non-News:
The Reform of the House of Lords

The House of Lords goes back to the witans or councils in Anglo-Saxon days and the Great Council of the Norman kings. In the nineteenth century, it lost ground to the Commons , who claimed legitimacy and the right to represent the country due to the franchise being extended from the 1832 Reform Act onwards. In the twentieth century, a showdown between the Lords and the Commons in 1911 led to the then-time Prime Minister asking the King to create however many new Lords it might take to get the legislation through. The Lords would never again claim equality with the Commons. Nowadays, the Lords are accepted as gentile fuddy-duddies, grandpops of the Constitution, lost under big –wigs and heavy robes and really good for nothing. British citizens are frustrated with them. Who do they represent and who do they think they are?

From 1997 onwards, the Labour Party has been promising to reform the House of Lords. In 1999, hereditary peers were excluded from attending debates. Tony Blair set up the Dept. of Constitutional Affairs in 2003 under Lord Falconer to reform them. In the general election of 2005, all parties put proposals to renew the Lords in their Party Political Manifesto or party program for change. Finally, in 2007, Jack Straw, then-time Leader of the House of Commons, put forward a White Paper (government commissioned analysis) with proposals to reform the Lords. It was a document negotiated between all three major parties so its recommendations seem likely to be implemented. The government of Gordon Brown, however, has not enacted these proposals but intends instead to go to the country (May 6th? Hush-hush) to get them endorsed (i.e. have them in its political platform) in this upcoming next election. The proposals for a Bill of Reform include having elected (either 100% or with 20% appointed by an Appointments Commission), a regional list system, a period of office of around 12 – 15 years (non-renewable) and the retention of the term `life-peer` as an honor as before but not an honor that conferred any rights. On the 19th. July, Jack Straw, now Lord Chancellor in the Cabinet of Gordon Brown, put forward his proposals in a new bill.

The new House – to be called `Senate` or `Upper House` and not `Lords` any more – would have a number of advantages. It would first and foremost have the legitimacy accruing to an elected body and therefore appeal to the ordinary people, who would elect it. The status of the members would be different because they would see their function as a job within the political system. It would represent all parts of the country including minorities such as immigrants, Welsh and Scottish people etc. An elected House would be younger. Finally, it would represent a commitment to bicameralism. Disadvantages, there are, too. An elected House, particularly one elected differently to the House of Commons, might come into conflict with that House. The independence of the House of Lords members would be lost (presently they come from all walks of life and are not party-committed). There would be transitional difficulties of changing from one form to the next. Finally, there would be higher costs due to the need for salaries, money for elections etc. there is also disagreement about whether to go for a form of Proportional Representation or stick with the First Past the Post principle.

In all this debate as to how the new `Senate` would be elected, it has always been assumed that the powers of the House of Lords would stay the same. They would of course be more assertive. However, the whupping they had had in 1911 would still be remembered and indeed subsequent curtailment of their powers to debate money bills, stop so-called manifesto bills (main government proposals) or in any way show their teeth at the Commons would not be tolerated. No one, however, has really faced up to the fact that de facto changes in the Constitution can come about, as it were, of their own accord. When Henry Vlll declared the Anglican Church independent of the Church of Rome, he conceived it as a catholic church and not the Protestant Church it became. So, we consider the Senate will be the House of Lords under a different name but forget that its new politicians will want to make a name for themselves and have power and influence.

One of the functions of the House of Lords is to act as the Court of Final Appeal just as the Supreme Court in the US. It was so that the nine law lords met in the House of Lords to discuss cases put before them (both from Britain and many Commonwealth countries). This will now stop. They are to become an extended body of twelve (including the original nine), who will meet in Middlesex Guildhall as from October 1st. just across Parliament Square or 300 yards from where they now meet. It is the end of an era but really without a break in continuity. In fact, they will be more easily identified than they are today.

Otherwise the House of Lords has been the butt of jokes throughout the Twentieth Century. Reforming it is popular with the people. What is not popular is the Economy, the War in Iraq and Afghanistan, Europe etc. better then to go into an Alice-in-Wonderland world of Constitutional choices and make believe that by changing the House of Lords, you are changing the course of history. Britain became in effect unicameral in the course of the twentieth century. Either the Commons will find itself at loggerheads with the new body or, most likely, Britain will stay effectively unicameral. But you can fool some of the people some of the time. By holding elections to the new Senate simultaneously with general elections for the Commons, you can encourage a higher electoral turn-out. And so that is the news that is non-news from what has become the tiny monarchy on the fringe of Europe and the wrong side of the Atlantic to really matter. Geoff Jackson

`Awesome` David Lawrence:
(`Go Hiontach` Daibhidh Lorcán)

Why would I want to read about Ted Kennedy? Why bring him back to life? He was a cheat, a murderer, a liar and worse than that, a limousine-Lear jet liberal. I am sick of all these millionaires pretending that they are one of the people. Kennedy was not people. He was royalty. Wasn`t it enough that he dominated the upper classes? Why did he have to sink down into the mud with me and other middle class people and ride a white steed through our lives, in our fields? Why did he want our applause? Why did he have to draw and quarter us with imitated concern for our wounds?

He didn`t belong with the middle class. He was one of the gracious who got away with drowning women and cheating on exams. He coaxed our votes not because he loved us but because there were more middle class people than upper class people and that way he could get the most votes. Why didn`t he look for votes in the drawing rooms of his friends` mansions? Why didn`t he burn his next embarrassing mistress in one of their gilded fireplaces? Why didn`t he stop taxing the pockets of the middle class to feed his beloved poor? He couldn`t stop sympathizing with them and patronizing them because they were so remote from him that he had no idea who he was sponsoring. Welfare made him feel good about himself. He secretly said to himself, "Boy, am I better than them."

He not only luxuriated in the advantages of being rich he pretended he was one of us and stole our votes. As long as we vote for rich Democrats we will remain fools in the pig pen of naive politics. Wake up, brothers, we do not need national healthcare from a man who would abort us to keep the population of the unwashed down.

I do not mean to disrespect the dead. I only disrespected him when he was living. At least now we won`t have him shuffling around in our playground of interests and misleading us for his own benefit.

L. R. Six: West Virginia

A plump nugget near the face
Of God—earthen ruckus
Shouts from a thick tongue of foliage
Under a stalagmite mustache

Beneath the eyes of a red cardinal
Hearts float like lily pads, daily
Across the Monongahela

My black bear lovers smell the
Red leaf maples

And in comes a new century`s creation
Snubbing Schumacher`s innovation
While men dare to scar
The face of God

~ L. R. Six

Kalp Joshi:
"Troubles in This World"

I am living in a world
Hard to live in
Hard to survive
we all have dreams
that can be accomplished
but it`s the violence and poverty
holding us down
how can we pursue our dreams
I see the world in trouble
Trouble of not being able to accomplish
I just want to sacrifice and not live in such a world
Not just be but millions are ready, ready to just die
Neither faith nor courage can fight this world

Kalp Joshi
Geoff Jackson:
(Siothran Coinneach)
Ireland Remembered


Proud ships
beating up the Liffey
Capital of a new Viking land

`Awesome` David Lawrence
(`Go Hiontach` Daibhidh Lorcán)

Coakley didn`t lose in Massachusetts. Flunkies can`t lose. She`s just a proxy. She does not have the integrity or prestige to lose. Obama lost. The naïve public, even the naïve Massachusetts Democratic public, has finally awakened to the fact that Obama`s speeches and his policies are not in sync. Out of one side of his mouth he is inspiring the country; with on the other side he is mumbling while destroying our traditions, independence and greatness.

Brown winning in Massachusetts is a referendum that Obama went too far, that he pushed his liberal agenda beyond reason and that he lied and misrepresented too often about his bipartisanship, his intention to reduce lobbying and his commitment to discontinuing pork barrel legislation.

Obama buys votes without shame through the Louisiana Purchase, the Cornhusker Kickback and not taxing unions` Cadillac plans. According to the Rasmussen poll only thirty-eight per cent of Americans want Obamacare. Yet he thinks nothing of shoving it down the country`s throat as if he knows better than his poor mortal constituents. He is brash, regal and arrogant. He could have been a French monarch if he weren`t so tall. He walks around with his head back as if he is balancing a champagne glass on his chin. He bullies and he attacks scapegoats like the insurance industry and Wall Street, even while he buddies up to Goldman Sachs. Basically, he ran on a slightly to the left centrist agenda and is ruling on a dictatorial, communist, fascist, monarchal authoritarian stealth program. Like most dictators he doesn`t like free press. He befriends Chavez and then follows in his footsteps by trying to close Fox News down. He pretends he is going to broadcast the health care debate on C-Span and then conducts it without Republicans behind closed doors.

When he was running for office on the basis of change, I laughed, sarcastically, bitterly, ironically. What change? Define change? Couldn`t change be worse? And it turned out to be. Individuals under his narcissistic guidance have changed; they have lost their self-reliance and self-determination; private industry has been co-opted by big government. The government now has its claws in the auto industry, the insurance industry, pharmaceuticals and the stock market.

We need change from change. Axelrod claims the Republicans want to go back to Bush. No, we want to go back to the Founding Fathers, to American principals, not European hand-me-downs. Obama wants to take over medicine as if his version of a governmental postal-type bureaucracy will be any better than the insurance industry. Is this the change Obama shouted out in his ultimate superiority like Hitler at a Brauhall meeting? Yes. His program was there from the beginning in its vagueness, its innuendoes, its possibilities. He didn`t want to kill the Jews; he wanted to kill small business, to congeal his power.

Do I blame Obama on Obama? No. He is a creation of the stupidity of the liberal voting public, the rock and roll groupies who along with closet gay Chris Mathews felt chills down their legs. Obama is a surprise villain but he could not have become one if the public didn`t create him out of their own naïve liberal tendencies. The road to hell is paved with the best intentions. We are burning because our neighbors misinterpreted fire for a groovy art exhibition in Soho. Obama is just another piece of kindling in writhing soul of our Emersonian democracy. He is the death knell of democracy. He is the projected fool in foolishness. So what is Massachusetts? It is a referendum for a return to sanity. Even the dolts who were fooled by Obama and voted for him are waking up. In Massachusetts, the heart of the Democratic party, even our antique pilgrims are recognizing the lies, distortions and dangers of Obama`s betrayals. I think everyone who voted for Obama should say a "mea culpa." It`s either be guilty of a mistake or remain perennially stupid. As for the Jews who voted for him (eighty-five per cent) shame on you. Once again you have betrayed your own people. Can you imagine a man who was born Jewish being a king in Saudi Arabia?

Dr Kelley Jean White, MD:
(Dochtúir Cealleigh Siún Ailpein)
Wearing of the Green

memory of green
silver tracks blackened
subway`s dim tunnel

Ivyla Antonowitsch: Wrong Reflection

You can feel
the rush
down to
your toes
when the cop
in your rearview
hit`s the party lights
and your trunk
is loaded
with bad news.

~ Ivyla Antonowitsch
Geoff Jackson:
(Siothran Coinneach)
The Celtic Nations

It is hard to know when time begins in the British Isles. Probably with the Celts, who were a people who inhabited most of Europe. They left some remains, grave ornaments etc. and who were before them is impossible to ascertain. The Romans were only saved from the Celts by their famous geese acting as a watch and saving the City from the approach of the Celtic Armies from beyond the Alps at a time when Rome still had kings. The Romans got their own back however. Julius Caesar conquered Gaul and at the time of the Emperor Claudius in 55 AD, Britain was invaded. Only the far north of England and Scotland were never invaded and Hadrian`s Wall was used to keep out the natives, the war-like Picts. The Irish, too, were left alone across the Irish Sea. After Constantine withdrew the Eagles, the Brits or Celts were subjected yet again this time by the Angles and Saxons, who were left fighting over who was, and who was not, in the Dane Law with the hostile Viking tribes.

The Celts were pushed out of the rich agricultural land of England (Angle-land) and relegated to the hills in the West (Wales) and North (Scotland). Similarly, Celts in Ireland were driven into the West, where their language to this day survives strongest in Galway and West Ireland looking wistfully across the Atlantic toward America. At least, however, the Celts were free in their own homeland. After the Norman Conquest of England (1066), Wales passed to England and was secured by castles such as Carnarvon, which impressed me as a boy, when I visited. The Lowland Scots were also descendants of Angles and Vikings and maintained an uneasy peace with the clans in the north and west, now called by the Scottish Tourist Board, Islands and Highlands.

Worse was to come. In the seventeenth century at Drogheda, there was a massacre of townsfolk. Other cities were fired. Murder and rapine stalked the land. Opposition was put down by an iron English fist. England was on its way to ruling the British Isles. A law forbidding the export of Irish cattle to England but allowing free export of English cattle to Ireland is usually reckoned as a piece of colonial legislation and mercantilism, whereby Ireland was economically subjected.

Scotland was dealt with even more severely. After the Second Jacobite Rebellion (the English name for Bonnie Prince Charlie`s uprising), genocide was applied on a wide scale. The clan system was brutally put down so that tribal leaders would no longer be a threat. Finally, there were large transfers of land to absentee English landowners.

And what of England? The Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions were not accomplished without pain. Economic servitude drove families into industrial towns, where conditions at first were appalling: sixty-hour work week, cholera due to lack of W.C.`s and plumbing, rickets on account of no sunshine all hall-marked the period. But now England was ready. Power and wealth were concentrated in the hands of a small but fairly open elite. The world was about to be conquered. Irish and Scottish regiments were the best. North English regiments were also good. The conquered Celts worked for their masters in London. The whole acted like a spring under pressure. And in Africa and India, the same principles were put into practice.

The whole was a pyramid ruled from London. But the first step was the most important. And that first step was the subjugation of the Celtic races. As late as 1846, The Great Potato Famine showed the bankruptcy of the agricultural system in Ireland. The people lived simply too close to the verge of famine.and the many Scottish, Irish and Welsh migrants to the US show the attractions of freedom in a foreign country.

Geoff Jackson

Bob Djurdjevic:
(Roibeard Mac Seoras)
"beannachtai na feile Padraig!"
(`blessings of day of Patrick`)

St. Patrick`s Day: 40th Irish-American Birthday
Shamrocks at the Rainbow Shower - Pachamama`s (Mother Earth`s) birthday gifts...

HAIKU, Maui, Mar 17 - Happy St. Patrick`s Day everybody! Or "beannachtai na feile Padraig!" (`blessings of day of Patrick` - as my Chicago-based Irish-American friend Peter taught me to say). Over here, in Maui, it is a beautiful sunny day, promoting a sunny disposition in people. Here are some pictures from our Rainbow Shower home taken this morning...

Post Phoebus, Nubilla: Mothers Earth & Ocean; Goddesses Pele & Namaka - All Show Up

["Post Phoebus, Nubilla" = After Sunshine, Clouds] (Latin)

HAIKU, Maui, Mar 18 - This year, St. Patrick showed us two faces. They were as different as day and night or fire and water or Pele and Namaka. The Kona winds made the morning and afternoon of March 17 feel as warm as any summer day around here. By the afternoon, they also brought it the VOG (volcanic smoke) from the Big Island. In the evening, the winds had shifted to the west. Soon, strong gusts started blowing in the spray from the deluge outside through the open windows. By the time the guest got up to leave, we had to give them umbrella. The ground around the house was drenched. Nothing unusual around here in Haiku, on the rainy side of Maui. But I was not prepared for what came next... It was just before midnight. During a break in the showers, I walked out to the lanai facing the west and the gulch. I listened to the sound of wind. Or so I thought. But when I looked around, I noticed that it was a still night. No tree branches or shrubs were moving.

"Strange," I thought, "that the wind would blow across the gulch but here."

Then it hit me. "What if it`s not the wind? What if this is the sound of rushing water down in the gulch?"

At first, that seemed far-fetched. For, today was the first anniversary of my move to Maui. Never in the last 12 months has there been any rushing water down there. The stream bed would occasionally fill up with puddles of water, maybe even a trickle or two, but nothing like this. This sounded like an angry Urubamba river roaring past the Ollantaytambo railroad station enroute to Machu Picchu (see Ollantaytambo: "Driving on Water" to Safety, Jan 26, 2010). But the longer I listened, the more it did sound just like that... rushing water. I called on Elizabeth to come out and witness it with me. "Come and hear something interesting," I said like someone who has just seen an alien spaceship in the gulch.

But Elizabeth was too tired to care. "That`s interesting," she said, and went back to the bedroom.

I stayed out for a while, enjoying the spa even in driving rain. The roar from down below seemed to be getting stronger, overpowering the sound of the rain on the rooftop and the lanai. I went back into the house, even dried my hair before going to bed. But something gnawed at me inside. "What if the rain stopped and the rushing water stops by the morning?" I thought. I`d never forgive myself for missing the "spectacle" of seeing a running creek on our property for the first time, even if it were past midnight. After all, ever since I was 33, I have tried to live my life without regrets. And the thought that had gnawed at me sure sounded like a regret. So I just dropped everything, grabbed two flashlights, slipped on my flip-flops, and butt-naked headed down into the gulch, piercing the pitch black night with two "torches" held high up. The closer I got to the bottom of the Lower Rainbow Shower, my excitement grew in proportion to the ever louder the sounds of rushing water.

"Wow!" I yelled out loud, when I reached the point from which I could see the streambed, illuminated by two streams of light. Water was gushing and foaming down the gulch. I walked up and down the entire area for about 5-10 minutes, before deciding to come back up to the house, put some clothes on, get a camera and take some pictures. When I returned, I discovered to my horror that the camera was malfunctioning. "Out of memory," read the error message. "Oh, shuck!" I thought. "What a time for it to fail!" But then I remembered. I had taken out the memory card earlier in the evening in order to transfer the daytime images to my computer. "Bet the card is still in the computer."

I scampered back up the hill. Indeed, the camera was still in the computer. By the time I returned to the gulch for the third time, light rain had started to fall. It was increasing in intensity as I started to shoot this video...

(A fair warning first: the flashlight I was using to illuminate the rushing stream was so weak that what you`re about to get is basically a radio report about the happening with occasional streams of like across the screen. But don`t despair; better things beckon later in the story).

Dr. Charles Frederickson:
dochtúir teàrlach mac feardorcha

B.C. – Blissfully Caffeinated Nirvana instant Karma
Bever-Age of brood brewed awakening
Starbucks Milky Way morning metamorphosis
Mug shot rejolting overtime perks

9–to–5 ruttine filtered drip grind
Gimmea loving cuppa break fluid
Never too dark noir choco-latte
Mrs. Sippy River sedimental journey

C – U latte mud junkie fix
Qahwa spoken here Pony Espresso
Mocha Cabana Rio de Joeiro
Café Ole la Vida Mocha

Kenya cappuccino? Yes, I Kona.
I scream 4Frappucino ice cream
All That Java lotsa potluck
Human beans Sanka berry mocha

~ No Holds Bard
(ni h-ann greimeanna bàrd)
Dr. Charles Frederickson
Geoff Jackson:
(Siothran Coinneach)
Potato Soup

Oh, Mother

Back bent, legs splayed
Catching potatoes in her apron
Splash, another potato in the bucket

Irish Air Company

Ryan Air
Cheap tickets for
Flights to all European capitals
Who would have thought
Irelad goes hi-tec

Proddy and Catholic

The lion will not lie down with the lamb
Nor work in shipyards and steel plants
The guys won`t have it
James Davies, Lord Woodberry,
(Seamus Daibhidh Morair preas-dhearc)
St Pat`s Mentorial
(léighean na feile Padraig!)

Greetings Dean (slàinte deaghan):

Ah yes Dean, Top of the Society to you, as the Society once again celebrates St. Patrick`s day, the only holiday on the civic calendar that the Society still recognizes, it having despite the Mentor`s occasional urging or needling abandoned Christmas, Easter, Labor Day, even Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July and god knows that else. The Dean has said that the Society might restore Independence Day of the US began to act like an independent country.

The Lord Dean has taught that Celtic thought is differentiated from mainline thinking in three important respects: (a) it is cyclical rather than progressive; (b) it is dualistic where seeming by opposite forces can stand for each other; and (c) it is mytho-poetic or anecdotal rather than pseudo-scientific I do believe the Dean quotes Gibbons for the proposition that the Roman Empire fell in 476 AD, but the Italian peasant still went out into the fields with his scythe, the horn of Saturn. The problem is, Dean, that most people don`t know how to do that or very much for that matter.

I had long scoffed at the Dean`s views on this as on other matters speaking of the contemporary US where he spoke of Kamikaze capitalism, denationalization, two tiered society, fewer people making more, perverse rewards, and cultural fragmentation. I did scoff at them until I saw the decline in my own industry and my own union. And while I may have said we are only here to chronicle the decline, not to stem the tide, I resisted the Dean`s view that there is a certain determinism in the lives of men and nations such that the forces which made them strong ultimately cause their collapse.

Instead I held hope, hope that there was some magic or invincible arrow that would save the day and maintain the US and Britain as the moral force in the world, the shimmering example. And what was the Dean`s sarcastic reply: all the moral force of Abu Grave, Gitmo and Walter Reade. I did think the Dean obsessed with his writings studying the personalities of the silk suited Justice Department lawyers furiously penning mist scholarly memoranda suggesting tortures and even requesting to be present for their administration. And what form did the retort take: that the Mentor suckered himself into the two great US myths and combined them into one: The Good Guy myth and the Agrarian myth, the latter one Rebels clung to as an article of fourth right up to the day the US Army band entered Richmond playing Dixie and unhooking the shackles of the slaves.

I suppose that the Dean might see in that parable opposites standing for each other.

Ah, but in my union, once proud and defiant, it is not all for one and one for all. The rats are deserting the sinking ship grabbing whatever stale morsels they can find. And what does the Dean say to this? I am lost in someone else`s dream

Ah yes Dean we return to St. Patrick`s Day which begins the society`s philosophical year and we find ourselves, a year older and not an hour wiser.

A Most Cheery Cherio (beannachd)

James Davies, Lord Woodberry,
(Seamus Daibhidh Morair preas-dhearc)

Vandye Forrester:
An Illusion

An illusion
Before you all was darkness; loneliness by constant
All that had been my life was broken and gone
Someone changed the rules of life and I did not know

Then, one night I saw an illusion
I saw your deliciously red hair,
your lovely form a delightful surprise for my
hungry eyes, your soft facial features and beauty
made me hope again

You seemed so happy and alive and I had wanted to die for
so long; it seemed a certainty, only a matter of time

You didn`t know but I watched you for a long time, afraid
to speak since all else that I had touched had turned to
dust and blown away

It was through your courage that we met, and our first
steps together made me feel alive once more
The first evening I held you in my arms I loved you
You were soft and warm and I loved again
We agreed to walk a little way on life`s paths, to see
where they would lead us. For me they lead to true

You awakened parts of me that I never knew existed
For the first time I wanted only to give. If affection
and caring were returned I would be enriched
For me, it was enough only to be with you, walking or simply in
the same room with you as you slept to listen to the
soft whisper of your breathing and smell you fragrance
Our love deepened. I gave and you too; in the mutual caring
and giving we received the blessings of deep love between
a man and woman

For the first time I accepted a woman asking no change,
knowing from bitter experience that to change was to
destroy the object of one`s love

Those days and weeks and months that we shared a home
were the happiest of my life. Would that they had
gone on for a lifetime, but it would not be
At long, long last i had what I had for most of my
life only held in my dreams - a home in which I was
loved by my woman

We made a valiant try, you and I. We both did the
very best we could to make our love and life together last
Your demons returned as did your illusion
And, so I am left with the memory of your lips, of long
walks and private talks; of our wonderful quiet Sundays
over breakfast and kisses and soft music
You gave me love, you gave me hope and in the process
you gave me new life

Your memory, my illusion, walks with me every step of my days
I love you so dearly, so deeply and in my own way
Because you were such a woman you made me more of a

Thank you for the loving home that for so long in my
adult life had existed only in . . An illusion

John Davis Collins
Sean Daibhidh Coileán

The Irish Repertory Theatre, off Broadway on West 22nd Street in Manhattan staged a revival of the brooding Irish American playwright's Eugene O'Neill's masterpiece The Emperor Jones. First staged by the Provincetown Players in 1920, The Emperor Jones launched O'Neill out of obscurity. The 2009 revival at the Irish Repertory Theatre opened on an apologetic note. Though founded in 1988, with a purpose to bring works by Irish and Irish American masters and contemporary playwrights to American audiences, to provide a context for understanding the contemporary Irish American experience, and to encourage the development of new works focusing on the Irish and Irish American experience, The Theater had to downplay O'Neill's ingrained pessimism in the age of the obama-nation.

The Emperor Jones is a one-act play about an American absconder who sets himself up as dictator of a Caribbean Island by bewitching the natives with their own superstitions. Yet he has a certain cool fatalism. He knows the over-lordship won't last forever. In a few moments of the short play, O'Neill, captivated by a Faustian theme of vaulting ambition, treats with material which is hard for liberals to face: Social Darwinianism, cultural regression, the failure of Christianity and the endurance of paganism.

An admirer of the turn of the century master playwrights in tragedy, Russian Anton Chekhov and Norwegian Henrik Ibsen, O'Neill brought to the American stage a realism never seen before: characters on the fringes of society, speaking in the American vernacular and engaging in depravity. Yet they hold to their hopes and aspirations until overcome by disillusion and despair.

The play was extremely popular in its time, staged frequently even once by WPA in the depression with marionettes. The revival starring John Douglas Thompson took a cue from that production using marionettes in the roles of Southern Belles attending a slave auction. John Douglas Thompson rendered a bravura performance capturing the essence of the upstart fatally doomed to wander in the wilderness of madness. It was a difficult role to assume having once been played on stage and in the motion pictures by the gifted actor Paul Robeson.

The difficult themes managed to escape the attention of the New York critics who gave the revival exceptional reviews. After several weeks at the Irish Repertory Theatre the play migrated to the Soho Playhouse on Vandam Street.
Andrew H. Oerke:

For eliminating heretics of any kind
we have no equal to the Twentieth Century`s
High Western Civilization at its best.
It seems that the lower a culture is,
the better it is at thinking it`s higher.
Yes, they killed their thousands, but we slaughter millions
for goodness` sake and say the world`s better for it.

During the interregnum of Huns and Magyars,
Vikings and Celts, etc., Europe was in turmoil.
Conquests tamped down the ruckus for a while
but engineered an even greater ruckus
with bigger and better tools to do it with.
Then the only way to tamp down the spiraling
violence was to dampen it down with force
engendering more force as in Pax Romana.

Alas that it has come to this now the core
of the culture has shrunk, the axle`s pitted,
wheels shaking the whole damn chassis apart.

The next interregnum will bring the dagger
to the throat of all throats, for, alas, the tail
of the West wags all. Good thing we`re leaving earth
for a new challenge before us globelings
gobble ourselves up in a chain reaction gulp
of thunder leaving a ring of atoms to wrap
around the sun in orbits that won`t record memories
and that other galaxies won`t even notice
until the record of the light reaches them.

Once the wince-out is in, the screen blinks dark
and the computer goes: "#$@()+$%&&##"? & *@ fssst."

~ Andrew H. Oerke
Herbert Woodward Martin:
Old World Mosaic

The picture of a red bird bound
in an old world mosaic with its
tail suggesting winter`s end or
Karl Syzmanowski`s radically
different kind of classical music,
breaking all the harmonic forms
which harkens back to Bach`s
breath, back even, to the story
of the evolutionary fish, or was
it whale, which in itself is a tall
beginning that touts our human
heritage beginning with days that
never seemed to end prophetically.

~ Herbert Woodward Martin

Tom Feeny:
February 2

This day's birth
comes bristling with hoar frost.
From her window, Anna peers
through panes crystaled in white,
out onto a grid of stiff clothesline
asleep in a shell of ice.

The morning glows stainless,
wrapt in its purity. Beyond
the low stone wall, sunlight
snarled in its branches, an
orchard sculptured by silverdust
holds knives to the sky.

The drama! The air delectable
as fresh ice cream! ...and
still...and still, despite
all such seasonal enchantments,
despite old houses
and women at empty windows,
this moment of bleak
New England promise
piddles out --hope

Six more weeks at least.


And I thought that branch is long dead
Now there is a sign of life to my surprise
Watch the tininess of leaflets hang on it
Withstanding the blowing of the wind

From the young foliage, freshness of green
Now there is a budding hope, a promise
We have something new to nurture
Something new to watch and see flourish

End of a tide is the beginning of another
And every season is an endless opportunity
Let the leaflets mature into books and paper
For the students, the children, the future

The Chapel

Like a portal to the morning and the evening,
Filled with praise and gratitude that increase faith,
And with absolution that decreases guilt and ego -
This is the nourishing room for a soul to prosper

Speakers, with more of a heart than a tongue,
Also are listeners in petition for a tender heart,
And a thick skin. They are down on their knees
To be standing strong on the road of frustrations,
To be strengthening relationships

Like a healing place, a world of answers to anxiety,
This tunnel leading to freedom,
Allows them who pray to find grace & equanimity,
And to recognize interconnectedness of all
Both in the seen and unseen realms

Geoff Jackson:
(Siothran Coinneach)
Girl Watching

Willing colleen

Where the colleens*
Have broad bossoms
Welcoming smiles
And want a man
*Irish Gaelic: girl

Blue Eyes
Blue eyes
Red apples
Danced in white cheeks
Jolly black curls
And the sharpest of sharp blue eyes

The way you talk

Just the way you talk
A brogue will make
English sing
And ring in coin
Of honest Irish womanhood

In the kitchen

She cut bread in thick slices
Spread butter and jam
It was the regular evening meal
The room was full of kids

Molly Malone

Molly Malone
Sold mussels
And drank Guinness
With foam on her woman`s moustache
And beery breath
Dr. Charles Frederickson:
dochtúir teàrlach mac feardorcha

Pledging allegiance to whatever flag
Unfurls hand over half-hearted salute
Chanting ‘tis of thee mantra
What`s in it for US

Praying to whatever deity listens
Carefully taught bent knees genuflect
Unspeakable truths higher authority censored
Shitty falsehoods purportedly don`t stink

Tired poor yearning wretchedly refused
Hungry left starving for recognition
Unheard voices pleading “save me”
Drowning cries for help ignored

Climate forecast by nature fickle
How to fake absent-minded proof
Unjustifiable excuses fail to convince
Ex-spurt séance authorities rewriting Fate

Famine drought avalanches volcanoes tornadoes
Hurricanes himicanes iticanes funneling grief
Unnatural disasters taking freakish toll
Floods mudslide tsunamis spilt overflow

Starbuck`s greenbacks Euro dollar doldrums
Uncommon cents penny ante poker
Global warming treaties passing gas
Heir-conditioned chasmal generation gap IOU`s

Dr. Charles Frederickson ~ No Holds Bard
(ni h-ann greimeanna bàrd)

Common Ground

Here, where embryos are conceived,
Necropolis is built for the dead's decay.
Kingdoms of the affluent are merely
Acres away from territories of the pauper.
They are one and the same.
In some cases, only sierras separate
A state from another, or connect them,
Like state lines or borders.
Bridges, freeways, tunnels -
From one county to the next.
Earth is a single unit with spots of seas & oceans.
Fields where farmers plow and harrow,
Affiliated with the tracks of the olympians.
Lands of bloodshed from war and violence,
Similarly, the lands where the fortunate ones
Reach out to the less fortunate.
This hell of mysterious sufferings is also
The heaven of messiahs and deliverers.
Boundaries are just boundaries.
Walls, just walls. We all still stand, live,
Rotate on this common ground.
Dr. Charles Frederickson:
dochtúir teàrlach mac feardorcha
In Mermoria


Heartbeat vibrations resonate empty void
Extreme bipolar vastness seeking unity
Merging vibrant hues perpetual motion
Circulation warming inner space glow

Inflexible minds pulsate fearful mistrust
Weak holes leaking spit-polished enmity
Impure nothingness clogging static cling
Vaingloriously searching for sublime bliss

Mass Graves

Mass graves human garbage dumps
Dismembered limbs poking through rubbish
Stacked deck house of discards
Spade Ace digging bottomless hole

Dr. Charles Frederickson ~ No Holds Bard
(ni h-ann greimeanna bàrd)

Chapbook fanTHAIsies published by Flutter Press
Geoff Jackson:
(Siothran Coinneach)
A London-Derry Air


Londonderry – so good they named you twice
London, for the old mistress
Derry for the Catholics.
Salute, people!


A Confessional
A village priest
Sins in 2 oz bags
Like sweets from the corner shop

First love

A memory of first love
Carousels at the Fair
A protective arm in the Ghost Train
And he couldn`t sleep all night


I prefer a union over nations -
No separate interest nor purpose
Division makes the world crumble,
And vanish from its existence
There may be no unity in faith;
But there can be unity in love
The harmony and symmetry
Of diverse elements conceive order

In this very process of synthesis,
We learn so many truths from each other,
Sparking a light that grows in radiance,
Powerful to illuminate the whole of Earth

Thank you, necessity - For the opportunity
To stand together until the end;
Genuinely as one even through
The most severe kind of strain
Thank you, diversity - The greater you are,
The greater is perfection
You truly are the essence
Of what is amazingly beautiful

In this very process of synthesis,
We learn so many truths from each other,
Sparking a light that grows in radiance,
Powerful to illuminate the whole of Earth

Geoff Jackson:
(Siothran Coinneach)
The Country Side

Golden butter

Butter in the churn
Golden as summer itself
Over Kerry
Carefully patted into shape

Fields of peacefulness

Cows in fields of clover
Munching their way through days
Peaceful sight
That remains unchanged in centuries

Summer jewels

Summer rain falls
Drops glisten bejeweling trees
Summer has no regrets
And clouds go on their way

Sheep farming

A border collie
Drives sheep in a field
Under inclement weather
As clouds sail over autumnal

Turf hut

Turfs feed the fire
Summer and winter
For cooking and heat
In the little peasant hovel
Where I grew up

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