I was in Chicago several years ago on St. Patrick’s Day. Everyone wore green and spoke in silly Irish accents. Even the river was dyed green. It was a hoot all day.
That evening I found an Irish pub and asked for a pint of Guinness.
“Where are you from?” asked the barman.
“Dublin,” I answered.
“I’m Irish myself,” he said, “My great grandparents came over in the 1920s.”
Then he roared across the bar: “Hey, Guys! We’ve a real Paddy here tonight.”
Drinks were on the house. They heard I was a poet and a poem was requested. This is the poem, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”, by WB Yeats. It’s about the poet being homesick. I tell you there wasn’t a dry eye in the bar. Poetry can really touch the emigrant heart.
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
First published in Swindon Link magazine