Thursday, March 17, 2011

Winter Irish on St. Patrick's Day

Top of the morning to all on this St. Patrick's Day 2011; hope all are enjoying themselves and avoiding the sacrilege of turning perfectly good Harps into green beer. What was once a very solemn religious holiday honoring the patron saint of Ireland has become the equivalent of Mardi Gras, Bacchanalia and Cinco DeMayo, and New Year's Eve rolled into one in terms of celebrations and parties. to be Irish one needs to be more than a button, a green shamrock, green shirt or dress. God may have invented whiskey to prevent the Irish from ruling the world but he also invented poetry to enable them to rule the hearts of the world. This Irish Alaskan Poet hopes you enjoy the following written on this St. Patrick's Day, 2011


Like the summer patriots to men like Thomas Paine
To the colors in the warm rays and leaving in the cold and rain
The summer Irish on this day are flocking from near and afar
To the closest tavern, to the closest pub and to the closest bar.
Awash in green to down a pint or two of Guinness or Harps,
To listen to the wail of the pipes crisp and sharp,
Gathered not in church but around tables with friends
Bushmill shots until the wee hours finally end
Every lady is now a colleen
All are decked out in their finest green
For this day all are Irish that’s what the shamrock buttons say
As the day wears on most can barely stand only sway
The lines are not to mass but to the pubs into the street
Patiently waiting for the shots and suds to greet.
If one were to think back when the potatoes began to rot
Famine stalked the land, nary a crumb or potato to be bought
The Irish fled by the millions from that Emerald Isle
Human sardines in steerage across the ocean miles
To a land devoid of outstretched hands,
No ticker tape parades or marching bands
But signs in most windows “Dogs and Irish not allowed”
Bias rampant but onto these shores they continued to crowd
Today a button or green is not needed to one’s heritage to rejoice
For among us are the works of Yeats, Becket and Joyce
Or the works of Wilde, Shaw and Swift
When in the Dark Ages, who stopped civilization’s drift?
The Irish monks writing to preserve and to keep
Knowledge from sliding into the dark, dark deep
That’s why the Winter Irish should be held in awe
That’s why we toast Erin go Braugh!
Still for one day all should be Irish, today enjoy the “Gaelic Right Stuff”
For if you are lucky to be Irish, you are lucky enough.

Michael P. Ridley
(c) March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ryan at 17

St. Patrick's has always been special in the Ridley family from the 50's with my father painting a green stripe on the three block concrete main street in Petersburg, Alaska to the the O'Ridley O'Cooley O'My started by Tim and I in 1987.
More so than ever before since my son Ryan was born on that day. It has always been a Ridley tradition started by my grandfather for me to write a poem on a birthday. I hope you enjoy the following given to my son to celebrate his 17th birthday.

What do you say or write to a man to in a year be?
Do you as a father extol the growth and maturity you see?
Or his fierce devotion to a water sport?
In the cold morning hours to his sleep abort
Football players may get all the women, all the fame
Put most swimmers into an envious shame.
But the swimmers in the morning cold must focus body and mind
Lap and lap nearing tranquility and leaving troubles far behind
To become part of the water and barely above the choppy waves
Kicking toward a win knowing what bursts to spend and what energy to save
Many a son lucky enough to be born on the day of the Pot o’ Gold
Knowing with the shamrocks they could put future efforts on hold
Not so this noble, handsome Irish son of the Brotherhood of the Fish
With the kind of mind, character and soul to handle what life will dish.
Ryan at 17 for the only time same birthday and age
Makes a father proud to see what he has written in his daily page.
It only seems like yesterday when a doctor with derby of green
After your mother in cramps could not pose and only lean
Brought you into this world on a full head of eager steam
On St. Patrick’s Day no less, blessed with your parents’ genes.
The future is a blank book as this father rejoices on this day
Enjoy the cake and candles and surpass the challenges that may come your way
If by chance after the morning swim you begin to shake and shiver
Join the 4th generation and add the muse to your expanding quiver
Michael P. Ridley
(c) March 17, 2011