A Most Fortunate Autobiography: As Told By The Ghost Of Eamonn A Chnoic Poem by Dennis Ryan

A Most Fortunate Autobiography: As Told By The Ghost Of Eamonn A Chnoic

Tuesday afternoon, July 19 and Wednesday morning, July 20,2022

"His description of the life of an outlaw is contained in that famous Irish poem ‘Eamonn a Chnoic.' "
--from an internet source on the Irish poet and outlaw Eamonn a Chnoic (1670-1724) of Tipperary County, who wrote the eponymous poem, and was of Gaelic nobility, holding
to the code of conduct of the traditional chiefs of Irish clans

After the English dispossessed us,
stole our Irish land for their plantings,
I wrote this poem about myself,
my band, to describe our life
in the woody hills where I escaped
to survive as best I could—I been runnin'
ever since the row with the tax collector
over my poor neighbor's brown cow—
he wouldn't take no for an answer,
and now lies six-feet below, down,
under, in brown dirt all his belonging.
And so it fell on me to write these
poems "Scan O'Duibhir a Ghleanna"
to rally the lads to fight for their lands
as had my close relative John O'Dwyer.
It fell on me to become this almost poet
almost by chance seemingly, to marry
my wife Mary Leahy after she had listened
to my love song "Bean Dubh an Gleanna"
one rainy night—who'd a thought that!
I belonged to the brave clan of O'Riain
on my father's side, of Kilnaloangarty,
and the famed O'Dwyers of Kilnamanagh
on my mother's, of course, so I had lineage
to be proud of, to drive me on my course
though little help, none, from family at hand.
"I don't have a friend—I'm so glad I'm late
and I'll spend a lot of time east of Aberdish
where my relatives aren't"—"Nil cara agam—
Is danaid liom sin A ghlacfadh me moch
na deanach ‘S go gcaithfe me ghoil
Thar fairraige soir O's ann nach bhfuil
Mo ghaolta." God bless the Irish tongue!
At the end they say it was tragic—though
I wasn't there to see, bein' asleep all the while
after my relative, an O'Dwyer, took me in,
then took me down—cut off me head
with his hatchet while I was all a bed,
stuffed it in a sack and was off to Cashel
to collect a reward for his prize—"the head
of Edmond O'Ryan! " (my English name)
announced for the English gawkers to gaze at,
placed on a spike over the gate of the jail.
(Oh, ‘tis a pity—I'd been pardoned a day
‘afore. Pity me, I got his reward!) Sadie,
me sister, was presented my head in public,
which she buried at Curraheen near Hollyford.
(What a joy! My sister kin to John The Baptist!)
All seemed lost, but not! —Reader, my bony
skull was discovered some two-hundred years hence
and a monument erected on the site in my honor!
(Think on it!) Then my body, my skeleton, I mean,
was exhumed, reunited with my skull in Doon graveyard.
Oh, what a reunion, a remarriage—around me lower neck
bone, I believe. Again, not all lost! —no, not by far, as my
future relatives all stood in awe, and I wish I could had
been therewith, withal to view it in person, instead of lookin'
on from Hell—the Irish Hell—with a drink in me fist,
me head on the bar stool. Ah, you see, all bodes well
for the O'Riains, for these relatives especially since all
are alive, including some who've ventured across the pond,
New Yorkers, so I'm told, though none now speak Irish,
while some ha' dropped the O'. Oh, well, "Times change",
they say. That's the theme. Ceart go leor. At Irish wakes,
mine, they chanted, "I'm Eamonn The Hill O'Slea's...
Ce he sin amuigh A bhfuil faobhar ar a ghuth
Ag reabadh no dhorais dunta Mise Eamonn an Chnoic
Ta baite fuar fluich O Shiorshuil Sleibhite's gleannta."

Wednesday, July 20, 2022
Topic(s) of this poem: satire,irony,border war,history,personality,poetry,kinship,nobility,families,narrative,war,language,ireland
Being of an Irish background myself, and having learned something of the history of Eamonn a Chnoic, I wrote this tongue-in-cheek satire, and put it in his mouth to speak.
Dennis Ryan

Dennis Ryan

Wellsville, New York
Error Success