Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I Guess He Had to Go

Gather round me people. Come listen to my song.
I'll sing to you a story. i 'll not detain you long
About a guitar player whose name you all should know.
I heard that he had chosen life, but i guess he had to go.

Named for a jazz musician, he grew up with the blues.
His soul was full of rock n' roll from his tee shirt to his shoes.
He could sing you any country song that you might care to know.
I heard that he had chosen life, but i guess he had to go.

I'm dreaming of the music. Tonight i am thinking about the man
Remembering the friends and times spent listening to the band:
Outside of Boston Music Hall, it was December of seventy-one
When he stopped to smile and talk with me after the show was done.

I don't go courting tragedy nor look for sad lament.
The only thing i know for sure is what was here just went
And the song that he was playing; it's all we've left to show.
I heard that he had chosen life, but i guess he had to go.

Now out near San Francisco hills are turning brown.
The bus is in the junk yard. The circus has shut down;
But up near Haight and Ashbury i swear i hear an old banjo.
I heard that he had chosen life; but i guess he had to go.

r.i.p. Jerry.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ballad of the Boyne

Well my name it is Dan Sullivan.
I know you'll not have heard of me.
The farmin in West Cork m'lads;
It was not my destiny.
At the tender age of twenty one I left my native home.
Up the rocky road towards Dublin Town I was inclined to roam.

So it's good bye to Cork City
Twice fare well to Limerick town.
So long to girls from Kerry.
They will not find me around.
I am headed north of Dublin
Where strange forces once did join,
And King Jimmy and King Billy fought
The Battle of the Boyne.

It was in 1689 James stepped onto the sod
He had Irish, Germans, Jacobites
Who said prayers to the same God.
They landed in Kinsale and
Sarsfield was with them there.
They thought Jim would reclaim the throne
In maybe half a year.


You may talk about your Gettysburg and also Waterloo.
What other fight did cause more grief
Even after it was through?
Now all down through the centuries
We've had to scrape for every coin
Since Billy won his vict'try at
The Battle of the Boyne.


Now i am lying here in Flanders Field
Where brave Sarsfield met release.
I am just another Irish lad
One of the Wild Geese.
Barbed wire's all around me and
The bombs and the bullets fly.
I wish it was for Ireland
If i am about to die.


for my Dublin buddy, Steve Lindsay.
on his birth day.
have a good one, bro.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Portrait of the Reader as an Older Man

In my own lone
some tower
I RISE where I lay.
Bare toes creaking lower
after first leak of day:
Light .

I look from my window across the far way
As Dedalus did gazing toward Dublin Bay.

I herald each morning now with porcelain cup;
A sea of dark forming. my hand brings it up.
Unlike bold Leopold,
There's no cat where I sup.

Off in easy chair corner is where I often am
And have with my coffee no toast, tea or jam.
Perched while waiting for perking to cook more fresh grounds
With mug and huge novel
in Ulysses' lee I drown.

Great book on the sidearm and vessel hooked hand
I watch young Buck Mulligan with razor in hand
And I am walking with stephen along a far strand.

I tried to get through it in school years before
Through imagey metaphors and day dreams galore:
oh how on first read
Did I not see before?

Now after each waking
When steps I've climbed down
I revel first hour not with T.S. or Pound
But reJoyce by my window
Where mourning clouds frown.

Then some times I shave in chalice like sink
As Mulligan did above Dublin's drink.

And when hot summer's come
And Spring falls away;
I'll go like the lot did down to swim in MY bay.
I'll splash soaking sore neck where wispy clouds wink.
Joyce voice in my brain will begin me to think...

His work works my mind and liquefies flow.
It furthers cognition that burrows and grows
And settles in snugly
to glow like his soft coals.


I will ponder on parapet high near the shore
Like Shakespeare, as Hamlet, did on Elsinore.
I'll let my thoughts travel from fingers to keys
Knowing "The Dead" man's long poem
Has lit his language in me.

Happy Blooms Day 2011


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Way Down by Waterside [#2]

I once had a Springtime lover
with eyes deep as the river
and a heart wide as the tide.
'n the salt air gave a shiver
way down by waterside.

chorus: we went walking out together
to view the moving tide
and the moonlight shook n shimmered
way down by waterside.

and a love i had in summer
she was wild as any rover
and she took me for a ride.
a few hours we spent together
way down by waterside.
now this love i've held through autumn
she has caught me when i've fallen
and she's stayed right by my side
all dreams are not forgotten
way down by waterside.
so the spring time is returning
and i hear the gold finch warbling
and he flutters as he flies.
these lives that we've been living
will be gone with the tide.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Way Down by Waterside

i once had a Springtime lover
with eyes wide as the river
and a heart full as the tide
in salt air she gave a shiver
way dow by waterside.

chorus: we went walkin out together
to view the movin tide
and the moonlight shook n shimmered
way down by waterside.

now a love i had in summer
she was wild as any rover
and she took me for a ride.
a few hours we spent together
way down by waterside.

this love i've held through Autumn
she has caught me when i've fallen
and she's stayed right by my side
some dreams we've had together
way down by waterside.
so the springtime is returning
and i hear the gold finch warbling.
all these lives that we've been living
will be gone with the tide
way down by waterside.

Friday, March 18, 2011

clear the Road or Ballad of the Irish Brigade

Clear the Road; clear the road is the phrase i am told
on the green flag i see out there wavin
clear the way; clear the way for the Irish Brigade
clear the way for the brave sons of Erin.

Just a twelve year old lad; scared hungry and sad
when he left in the year of fifty seven.
a few coins from his dad was all that he had
when he stepped on the pier in East Boston.

General Meagher he come 'round to the auld seaport town
was a fifty dollar bounty he promised:
"join for your new land in a brave Irish band
the south's for the rich n the british."
he stuck to his gun that day at Bull Run
even when the general went down right near him.
he was a man who stood tall that day in the fall
by a Maryland creek called "Antietam".

Little Mac had the "slows"; Abe said he must go.
It was Burnside chosen to replace him.
Next thing they would see was not the banks of the Lee;
but the shores of the old Rappahannock.
the bearded general in grey stood watchin all the day
as Burnside sent good men to slaughter.
he dodged shot 'n shell and he fought 'till he fell
and that night the northern lights came over.
[first verse is also the chorus]

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Pint for St. Patrick

one vision as i hang about
enraptured by a fall of stout
before the barkeep in this place;
myself with legends, some of the greats.
handle's down for to let pass
a stormy dream from brass to glass
place is packed with gal 'n gent
round tables live with merriment.

Parnell and Collins here now and chewin.
it's in their glass a storm is brewin.
there's Father O'neil,Tom Meagher and Tone.
while in the corner with Maude Gonne
Yeats is working on his Easter poem.
watch Christie Moore and Bob O'Dylan
click two pints and start to chillin
as just in from the land of free
is Clinton, Curley and the Kennedys.

Willie Shakespeare has been known to scrawl
his lengthy poems upon the wall.
and Christ himself tis said came out
when the favored brew was running out
and told the keep: "pour them more stout!"

Coleman of course has hand to bow
and Paddy Carty has flute to blow
Bono and Van the man bang in
with a blind guy named O'Carolan.
now the piper Keenan's about to start
when a sudden gust gives crowd to part
and standin there with staff in hand
is the saint who chased snakes from the land.
his beard is long; his bare feet dirty
convertin druid's made his throat all thirsty...

...now a jarring jar upon the bar
might remind some one of whom they are.
but just fore this is takin place
it's up there speaks Jim Joyce to Yeats
"A Drink this Good is worth the Wait."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Angel of Mayo
a song by k "buck" Daly and K "harry" Harrington

from the county of Mayo so far cross the sea
there came once an angel of mercy
it's my time of dying she eases for me
i am waiting for Jesus to take me.

when just a young lass she walked bare foot on stones
to her home she would carry the water.
now she is near i won't face death alone
by my bed she is gentle as mother.


here black, puerto rican, poor christian and jew
find beauty in her quiet wisdom.
look into her eyes, she'll not give up on you
in her heart we're all one of his children.


1st verse is also the chorus

Angel of Mayo

Saturday, March 5, 2011

on the death of Michael Collins

on the death of Michael Collins

the day they blew Mick Collins down
he'd been to home and all around:
laughed with friends in his cousin's pub;
again a cork man,
not a Dub

nor reb who rattled an empire's jewels and
sat with satan to bring home rule
when Dev himself could see it all
and left Mick standing with the ball.

He knew britania's great design
was bombs away if he did not sign.

that day he'd trod without alarm
by rutted road to family farm
to hold his own ones in his arms.
saw old friend faces in fields and slowed

near Bandon town as i am told:
a moonlit road; a craggy pass
is where the great one breathed his last.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Ballad of Thomas Meagher [a song]

come you freedom loving folks a tale i'll tell to you.
my story might seem fanciful, but every word is true.
about the bold young Thomas Meagher from Waterford he come.
'tis said he didn't care to hear the beat of an English drum.

well schooled in world philosophies, he was a merchant's son.
A lover of great poetry, he was handy with a song.
he grew famed for giving orat'ries seditious to the crown
'till the judge he said that Thomas Meagher would be Van Deman bound.

if life it be a precious jewel and liberty a gem;
we should not forget the thoughts of freedom loving men.

to bosses in tasmania one day a note come 'round
was Thomas said:" this very night i'll be escaping from your town
come catch me if you're able", the brash young Meagher did say.
while their horses cleared the stable, he was rowing in the bay.

then near the town of Fredricksburg he lead his men up hill
where the foolish General Burnside sent so many to be killed.
the rebels poured a murderous fire from a wall by a sunken road;
yet in the rising tumult, an emerald banner showed.

if life it be a precious jewel and liberty a gem;
we should not forget the thoughts of freedom loving men.

death it came to Thomas Meagher in Montana late one day.
it was when the war was over. he'd been through the bloody frays.
they said that from a steamer he fell overboard and drowned.
in the wide river water, no body was ever found.

so come you independent folk wherever that you be
and give a thought to those who fought for human dignity.
if you're on the missouri, just a driftin way out there;
i hope you'll pause to say a prayer for the soul of Thomas Meagher.

if life it be a precious jewel and liberty a gem;
we should not forget the thoughts of freedom loving men.

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Cowboy's Song
by Kevin L. Harrington

Chapter 1

When he had his fill of food and drink, he felt weary and lay down to rest beneath the sparkling sky. It was in the moon when roses bloom and their camp was in some cottonwoods by the river. A fire was still blazing: blue-black smoke turning up to touch the face of stars in darkened evening. Sarah returned from the river and stood back to him in the leaping orange glow of the flames. Hard work in hot sun had tanned her lean frame and toned her muscles. He watched silver rivulets run curving paths down long bronze thighs. Then this: the swift passing of the brush as she bent to comb her sandy brown mane. Her ass was a firm, pale glow beneath the moon. For a moment he thought he saw Orion through the crook of a multi- bangled arm. Then the brush fell and she was with him. There was the earthy taste of wild river water in her mouth.

Chapter 2 ... And young willie's eyes were sharp as any eagle's
he could spot a rider from a good full mile's run
not much for the big towns or the ways of all the people
the only law he knew was when the smoke came from a gun.

William E. Johnson walked slowly around the bar and stood, back to the wall, in a place where he liked to watch the door. He tipped the back of his hat brim up and stared wordlessly for a moment at the roughly hewn wood; waiting for the sound of beer being poured. Shortly there came the thud of his jar upon the bar and Liam O'malley, the bar man, took just enough coin from before the young cowhand. Inside the "Souls of Poets Tavern" the air was warm and redolent of stale beer, smoke and whiskey. Outside a sadistic sun was baking the earth into dust. It rose in tiny cyclone swirls from the road at the slightest hint of hoof or wheel or rare breeze up from the river.
The room was empty save for the two men and a prostitute named Maria. From over at a corner table she called him with her eyes. " Why don't you cume n seet weet me weelie?" And he had a thought to join her, but before he moved a gaunt black man had pushed through the swinging doors and moved silently over to her table satchel in hand. she raised her head as the man bent to whisper some thing in her ear. After stopping at the bar for a bottle, the two of them moved without shyness up the rear stairs towards a small bedroom above.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Down by the Pond

a song to the tune of "lord Franklin":

Summer is gone now. The Autumn is on
with the red, gold and green colored watery dawns.
My friends and my family i care for each one.
I am riding my bicycle down by the pond.

I recall a time it was just around the bend
i'd been bugging my dad to take me fishing with him
We didn't get nothin till on the far shore
We saw them all jumpin by an old cabin door.
We were reeling them in. it was easy and free
When i felt the old man smile over at me.
With the moon on the water not much was said
about the "keep out sign hung over our heads.

When we were kids we would drive far away
To a pond in the pines where mom swam in her day
When long day ended stars littered a dome
there was dreaming and singing
all our long way home.

My wife and i married then rode the north hills
to a spot near the border where the water was still.
Evenings we swam in a bottomless lake
These many years later i still think of that place.
and i took our young boys on mystery walks
up through the ball fields and on toward the docks.
Each weary way home would come their refrain:
Dad why are mystery walks always the same?

now as my body it does give me pain
i'm turning my bicycle t'ards home in a rain
i know i've been lucky.. i know it's been grand.
my friends and my family, they're who i am.
and winter is coming now; make no mistake
i'm watching two swans slide low across the lake
all of my money i would freely spend
to know we could live those old times again.