On Poetry and Culture Shock

Some Irish fun

Excuse me if I give you something appropriate for St Patrick’s Day two days too late, but my St. Patrick’s celebration started on Wednesday and finished yesterday(heh heh), so to me this still counts. I could give you Yeats but I don’t like it that much. I could give you James Joyce, but after these days’ fun, I’m in the mood for parties and song. So, I offer you some Irish music. It's Father's Day in Spain and my father likes to compile different versions of the same song, so this is perfect for today.This is a traditional Irish song that I know in five versions: Kate Rusby, The Corrs, Marianne Faithful, Sinéad O’Connor and Martyn Bennett sampling someone from a couple generations back. I’d like to have more variations on the same theme, but singers have the habit of recording just a fragment of the song and changing the name every time. Mine are called I Wish, I Know my Love, Love is Teasin’, The Butcher Boy and Blackbird! Versions can be dramatically different. Marianne Faithful and Martyn Bennett’s singer sound sad and bitter; Kate Rusby is sad, but her changes in the lyrics and the way she sings underline, ehem, how she stopped being a maid. The Corrs sound as if they were having so much fun they don’t believe for one second the boy doesn’t love them; Sinead sings about a suicide. Of course, mine is my own personal version, a recycling of the bits I like in the others with one or two extra changes. To me, this is a drunken, party song: a translation into Spanish would have to be in slang or dialect, and I don’t dare.

I wish I was, I wish in vain,
I wish I was a maid again
But a maid again I can never be
Until oak was to grow up an ivy tree.

For love is teasin’, and love is pleasin’,
And love is a treasure when first it’s new
But as love grows older, then love grows colder,
And it fades away like the morning dew.

There is an alehouse on yonder town
where my love goes and there sits down,
he takes a strange girl on his knee
well don’t you think that vexes me?

There is a blackbird on yonder tree,
Some say it’s blind and it cannot see,
I wish it was the same with me,
And then of love I would be free.

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