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Sunday, April 26, 2009

RE: Another perspective on Susan Boyle and true education.


Nonetheless, he (“Spengler” or Goldman) says some truths about industrial Britain, particularly Scotland, though perhaps he tenda to be pessimistic. He seems not to know mainstream America. He also has a prejudice that ‘educated immigrants’ are necessarily better than ‘uneducated immigrants’.

Of course none of my grandparents could read or write English and had almost no formal education whatsoever and yet they made a very positive contribution to America. We were once undesirable too. Mere cannon fodder for Pommie Officers on a hundred foreign fields Our women mere drudges and servants for rich English women and Yankees. But I may add, never their whores.

Goldman recently wrote and article in FIRST THINGS about the demographic collapse of the West. Japan is moving into shutdown and China? Has a surplus of 32 million males youth age1-5 .

Nonetheless, people who aren’t educators or who are Ivy League snobs think that in education 2+2 always equals 4. This is not so.. Critics often have a hard time believing Shakespeare with his mediocre provincial education of little Latin and less Greek (as far as we know he read what classics he did read in translation such as Plutarch and Vergil) actually wrote his plays and composed his sonnets. After all Shakespeare was just a semi-educator actor! That’s why they believe such nonsense that some other nobleman wrote his works or even Francis Bacon who was after all university trained and a lawyer.

Those who believe that the forces and results in individual cases and in the cases of regiments or nation are ALWAYS CALCULABLE are, I think wrong. There is always the ineffable, the unexpected, the mysterious.

I was not a distinguished soldier by any means in my lifetime but it was my pleasure to know many distinguished soldiers and Marines personally. Some were more articulate than others and others were reticent But I learned from all of these men. I learned that there is something in a Highland soldier or Marine which makes them great fighters, and disciplined soldiers who are almost entirely reliable and loyal to the death. And that thing is not authority or fear of authority. It is not merely training. That thing is not having the best weapons . It is this sense this almost physical sense that you are as it were One Body. Christians call this spirit the Body of Christ. Highland soldiers called it the Thin Red Line. Each man knows he is a ‘bearer of tradition’ and this inculcates a pride and positive group indentify based not on some ephemeral thing but on history, glory if you will, honor, if you will, and the joie de vive of the camaraderie of the present AND the PAST and the FUTURE.

The French –cleverer in their way than the Germans- call it Esprit d’ Corps.

Many minorities be they Blacks, Hmong or Latinos –especially fatherless males- often display an uncertain self-identity and a fragile morale which collapse amidst negative peer pressure and distractions. Low value public schools are ineffective in this sort of situation. But curiously, the Marines, for example, are able to turn young boys like that into men of honor who would not swear in front of women or children and who ALWAYS SALUTE and stand at attention for the superior officers.

It should be no surprise that the number one epithet of disdain is “school boy”. It is the moral equivalent of (I beg your pardon) , “fag”, “Uncle Tom or “Sissy”(there are Spanish equivalents). Given a choice most young boys, unsure of their masculinity prefer cussing to civility and defiance to obedience and dropping out to “school boy” achievement. And they do not fear this life. They have never known hunger –there is always the welfare state –subsidized housing and free food to be had. What they don’t get for free they will steal by force. Why?

Because at least then –with their negative identity and false pride- they feel like men in a world dominated, in their view by catty women and wimp effeminate flabby males, who let’s be blunt, disgust them.

The WWF , playboy athletes, hip-hop rap artists and movie stars excite them. They may be tawdry, wife-beating Don Juans, tasteless foul-mouthed crooks and cheats but THEY ARE MEN. (not I quickly add men of honor but we have to be honest and recognized the exaltation of wild maleness).

Highlanders speak of mire-catha –the ancient blood lust, the battle frenzy and of course know that this is perhaps an atavistic instinct to fight, to kill and utterly destroy the prey, the enemy or die. And enjoy it. It is good that war is so terrible a wise man once said or we would learn to enjoy it too much. That was spoken by an experienced combat soldier and commander. And those who are men of faith speak with shame because they enjoyed it. Killing –like stealing- can be thrilling. I have spoken with many soldiers and Marines. They treat killing with great respect and caution because they know it can become a habit, an addiction. The man of honor, the true Marine only kills in the line of duty and does not boast of it. They know it is a sin and they know they are marked with the mark of Cain. But they gave their oath and have a job to do so they do it in a manly way and carry their burden inside.

Most Americans have no idea how much danger they are in. The day this massive cohort of lumpen proletarians finds a purpose –perhaps fundamentalist Islam perhaps Marxist Leninism the USA could , as foreseen in the new Russian novel THE LAST MASS OF NOTRE DAME, just fall apart in a orgy of crime, killing, murders, rape, arson and violence. In the end there would be nothing left but a few lost golf balls.

In the Marines they learn that gentlemen and Marines DO NOT USE profanity or threatening language in front of children, women and girls, elder people or in public situations or job interviews. They learn to be punctual and respectful. In the Marines they get discipline and the kind of self esteem that only comes from REAL ACHIEVEMENT and a POSTIVE GROUP INDENTITY. And I might add they get the philia love of camaraderie and if they are lucky will find a good woman. It is no surprise to me that many Marines marry women Marines or Navy –they have the same ethos- or foreign women at a rate much higher than that of average Americans.

I have heard it over and over that today many American women are too bossy, too coarse, too unfeminine and too demanding and do not appreciate a good man. I have heard that they do not make good wives. My own son expressed the same feelings –he dated dozens of American girls over a ten year period and DID NOT FIND A SINGLE ONE HE WANTED TO BE WITH MORE THAN 24 hours and like his father before him he is marrying a foreign woman with more traditional mores and values. Men will always vote with their feet. I tell my own daughters that no man has to marry them. They have to be worth it and bring something into the marriage and be prepared to make sacrifices as a good man will make many sacrifices for his wife and family. And if he is a good man he will be patient and wait. A man who won’t treat his woman with patience and kindness is not worthy of even a kiss. And I also tell them mucho mejor vestir santos que desnudar borrachos –it is better not to marry at all than to marry poorly. But then ‘tis a poor marriage indeed that is not better than hard service [dubh-chosnadh] (Is bochd am posadh nach fhearr na ‘n dubh-chosnadh). Traditionally, hard physical, outdoor work and dangerous work was not consider desirable for a woman nor for her beauty.

And then American baseball coaches call the ineffable the ‘10th man”. There is no question there is a certain team dynamic ; the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. As a teacher I see this in classrooms, too or on competition teams.

I personally saw the 1969 Mets win the World Championship over one of the greatest managers and greatest teams of all-time, the Baltimore Orioles under Earl Weaver. The Orioles were at least a match for the Mets in pitching and were heads and shoulders above the Mets in every other category. On paper the Mets should not have won more than one game. But when it was all over the Mets beat the Orioles four games to one. There is always the unexpected. There are those things which people of faith call miracles. Looking back I think the Mets had an equally great manager Gil Hodges –a man who had played the greatest teams of all time on one of the greatest teams of all time and knew baseball talent. And they had the unexpected. The Orioles had never played them and probable did not scout them until the very end of the season so they probably knew the Mets less than any other team. And of course the Mets had a real ace in the hole –the man who, in the playoffs against the Braves, struck out a great hitter Rico Carty on a 3-2 count just after Carty had hit a ball into the upper deck and was foul by just a few feet. I will never forget when Gil Hodges removed Gary Gentry on a 3-2 count and brought in a then relatively unknown rookie pitcher named Nolan Ryan. So the Orioles had all the big names and the Mets had little names but in retrospect they had just the right mix of great young talent and veterans plus what the French call je ne sais quois.

This is why scientism in education is often so wrong (and so boring and dead). I point out to my students, at least once a year, that the great indispensible authors are, Dante, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Goethe, Vergil, Homer and in my book Robert Burns. I have delivered a few Immortal memories in my time and have known the poet since I was a wee. True education is much bigger than schools. Schooling is not education only a part of it.

But not a single one had an elite education or was university educated. We know little about Homer’s personal life but we know historically the Academy and Lyceum were still centuries in the future when he thrived and many scholars speculate that Homer –like Ossian- could not write at all. I also add that some of the most influential thinkers and teachers of all time wrote nothing Socrates and Jesus of Nazareth. And we could go on. Leonardo da Vinci. Isaac Newton was the son of a north country farmer and was considered a mediocre, dreamy student.

I shall never forget the lines of poet John Masefield:

I have seen flowers in stony places

And kindnesss done by men with ugly faces

And the gold cup won by the worst horse at the races

So I trust , too.

For what it is worth the musings of a rural school master.

Richard K. Munro


Saturday, April 18, 2009


The inscription reads CRUACHAN ! (an ancient slogan of the Argylls recalling a mountain which was a gathering place for fighters since Mons Graupius (circa AD 84), Sterling (1297) and Bannockburn (1314)



Na laoich (the lads)


We remember Sgt. MacKenize (a historical figure) and the gallant men of the Ants (Company A Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders ….frequently….)

Losses during the Second Battle of Ypres (April-May 1915) are estimated at 69,000 Allied troops (59,000 British, 10,000 French), against 35,000 German, the difference in numbers explained by the use of chlorine gas.

Front Line Position YPRES SALIENT 1915

The front line was held by three battalions in each of the three brigades:

80th Brigade (Brigadier-General W E B Smith, HQ at Verlorenhoek): Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, 3rd Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps and 4th Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps.
81st Brigade (Brigadier-General H L Croker, HQ north of the Menin Road at Hooge): 1st Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 9th Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and 1st Battalion Royal Scots.
82nd Brigade (Brigadier-General J R Longley, HQ south of the Menin Road at Hooge): 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, 1st Battalion the Cambridgeshire Regiment and 1st Battalion the Leinster Regiment.


431 officers and 6475 other
ranks lost their lives and six
Victoria Crosses were awarded
to the regiment during the war.

They suffered almost 25,000 casualties and a casualty rate of over 400%.

SAN PEUR (without fear) NE OBLIVISCARIS (do not forget)

The men of the THIN RED LINE OF HEROES….

Captain Porteous, Captain John Lauder, Lt. Henderson, Sgt Mackenzie, American Johnny, Danny McQueen,the beaus of the Dorian sisters Molly and Annie (spinsters for life), Jimmy Quigley, and so many more now nameless Tommies not forgetting the Dins (loyal Indian soldiers)

After World War One over 400,000 Scots emigrated (almost 10% of the population of Scotland and almost 20% of the population aged 1-35); chiefly to the USA and Canada but also Australia. Victory did not bring security but exile…and yet another odyssey and another Journey of the Cross. Most never returned home in their lifetimes….

In modified lallans (Scots)

Original Scottish Version
Lay me doon in the caul caul groon
Whaur afore monie mair huv gaun
Lay me doon in the caul caul groon
Whaur afore monie mair huv gaun

When they come a wull staun ma groon
Staun ma groon al nae be afraid

Thoughts awe hame tak awa ma fear
Sweat an bluid hide ma veil awe tears

Ains a year say a prayer faur me
Close yir een an remember me

Nair mair shall a see the sun
For a fell tae a Germans gun

Lay me doon in the caul caul groon
Whaur afore monie mair huv gaun

Lay me doon in the caul caul groon
Whaur afore monie mair huv gaun

Whaur afore monie mair huv gaun

English Translation
Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone
Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone

When they come I will stand my ground
Stand my ground I’ll not be afraid

Thoughts of home take away my fear
Sweat and blood hide my veil of tears

Once a year say a prayer for me
Close your eyes and remember me

Never more shall I see the sun
For I fell to a Germans gun

Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone
Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone

Where before many more have gone

In memory of Sgt. Charles Stuart MacKenzie
Seaforth Highlanders
Who along with many others gave up his life
So that we can live free

LAST POST from the MENIN GATE YPRES (Nov.11 observances. Among the most moving commemorations I have ever seen, heart of observed.)


Sunday, April 12, 2009


Established in Inverness in 1898, Thomas Munro & Co has been responsible for the design and construction of many buildings in Inverness and throughout the North of Scotland.

We approach every project as a unique opportunity, responding to client requirements and location. We Integrate new buildings and activities with landscape, community and tradition. A modern interpretation of place and identity, honest and fresh, respecting the continuous dialogue of marks and gestures laid down by each generation through time.

Air a stèidheachadh an Inbhir Nis ann an 1898, tha Thomas Munro & Co air a bhith an urra ri dealbh agus cur suas mòran thogalaichean an Inbhir Nis agus air feadh Ceann a Tuath na h-Alba.

Tha sinn a' dèiligeadh ri gach pròiseact mar chothrom air leth, a' co-fhreagairt iarrtasan agus suidheachadh an luchd-dèiligidh. Tha sinn a' dealbh a rèir an fhearainn, na coimhearsnachd agus an dualchais. Mìneachadh co-aimsireil air àite agus dearbh-aithne, onorach agus ùr, a' toirt spèis do na làraich agus comharran leantainneach a bha linn ma seach a' cruthachadh.

EEC Confederacy of Dunces Committing Sexual Suicide

Dear Sir: you have written:

“There is only one reason that I would hesitate to let Turkey into the EU. It would further open the floodgates to Third World, Islamic immigration from Southeastern Anatolia and from the slums of Istanbul. The results would be enhanced social problems for the Europeans—and even something far worse. A self-confident, anti-Western and fecund population would supplant a decayed, demoralized, and sterile European one, and gradually Europe would sink into the kind of society from whence the immigrants came, a situation that already exists in postcolonial Africa.”

Europe is really not a continent at all, point of fact, but more of a cultural fringe one which had its apogee 1500-1914. Since that sucidal internecine warfare which continued 1939-1945, Europe has essentially collapsed demographically. So it really doesn’t matter if Turkey is let in the EU or not. The Turks are already in Western Europe, particulary Germany, in a big way.
Nature abhors a void so into the the population void of Germany one will see Munich as the New Brooklyn. Having travelled to Munich from between 1964 and 2003 I was amazed to notice the difference. In 1964 Germany was outwardly at least, still a European nation. By 2003 Munich seemed very much like Brooklyn, New York. I will say this for the Germans for all their PC madness they seem to insist immigrants if they want residency or citizenship learn German. They are not so foolish to imagine they can jettison religion, mores AND language too and still exist as a cultural unity. But I daresay the numbers of German women over 40 who are unmarried and never have had children is staggering. So that is the real story. Like the classical Greeks most Europeans peoples will just fade away as their countries gradually become little Lebanons. I fully believe most European languages will experience the fate of Latin in North Africa and Greek in Egypt.
The first Europan languages to become extinct will be the minority indigenous European languages such as Breton, Welsh and the Gaelic langauges. Then we could add Flemish and so on until we eventuall get to Italian, German, Swedish. I have some hope for Polish because the Polish are the one European country which shows some demographic vigor. In fact, by the end of the 21st century Poland could be the leading European country by the viritue of the fact it may be the ONLY European country.

All the other countries will exist of course geographically the way Galicia exists or Andulacia exists or Normandy exists or Lombardy exists but by the end of the 21st century they will have ceased to exist as European countries; their own native languages will probably dwindle to the mother tongue of an every increasing and increasing oppressed ethnic minority. Holland will probably be the first to go because it is well on its way.

So, yes, I suppose Turkey in the EU will just accelerate the trend but as Turkey is a NATO country it makes sense for it to be in the EU.

I suppose we could cross our fingers and hope for the best but perhaps that is no a prohibited activity in EC passport countries.

Yes, the EC reminds me of the Holy Roman Empire. It is neither European nor a Community. Just a confederation of dunces committing sexual suicide.

Posted by Richard K. Munro on Nov 27, 2008.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Trasna na dTonnta - Westering Home

Trasna na dTonnta

Trasna na dtonnta, dul siar, dul siar.
Slán leis an uaigneas is slán leis an gcéan
Geal é mo chroí agus geal í an ghrian,
Geal bheith ag filleadh go hEirinn.

Chonaic mo dhóthair de thíortha í gcéin
Ór agus airgead, saibhreas an tsaoil.
Éiríonn an chroí 'nam le breacadh gach lae.
's mé ag druidim le duiche mo mhuintire.

Muintir am Iarthair 's iad cáirde mo chroí
Fáilte is feile beidh romham ar gach taobh.
Ar fhágail an tsaoil 's é ghuím ar an Rí,
Gur leo sin a chínfear I gcill mé.


Trah-sna nah done-tah, dul sheer, dul sheer,
Slawn lesh on ooig-nes, iss slawn lesh on gEEn;
G'yal ay muh krEE, ah-gus g'yal EE un gy'reen
G'yal veh egg fillah guh hair-in!
Kun-ig muh go-hin jeh hEEra EE-gayn,
Ore ah-gus air-reged, sev-ras un teel,
Eye-reen un krEE-num leh braka gawk-lay
Ss-may dridim leh dookie muh ween-char!
Air mo h-reel sheer oh eye-rEE muh krEE
Un aym-sheer guh haul-in iss tunntah jas ray
Stooruh guh jeer-ock go-dookie muh klay-v
Iss bay may in nair-in ah-marock!
Meen-char un-ear-har sheed kar-jeh muh krEE
Fall-che es fay-leh veh rowam air-gawk teev,
Air aw-gin un teel shuh, shay gyee-im air un REE
Gur l-yeoson a-shin-sheer ih gill may.

Across the Waves

Crossing the waves going west, going west.
Goodbye to the loneliness & bye to the sadness
Bright is my heart and bright is the sun.
Bright to be returning to Ireland.

I saw my fill of unhappy lands.
Gold and silver, a wealthy way of life
The heart arises with the break of each day.
And me approaching the lands of my people.

The western people are friends of my heart.
Welcome & hospitality before me on every side.
Having this life here I pray to the King.
To be stretched out in a churchyard with them.


This is the Scottish version which is a Scots version of the orignal song which orginates in the Hebrides as was composed in Gaelic (slightly different words from the Irish version but the same theme)

Westering home and a song in the air
Light in the eye and its good by to care
Laughter o love and a welcoming there
Isle of my heart my own land

Tell me a tale of the Orient gay
Tell me of riches that come from Cathay
Ah but it's grand to be waken at day
And find oneself nearer to Islay

And it's westering home with a song in the air
Light of me eye and it's goodbye to care
Laughter and love are a welcoming there
Pride of my heart my own love

Where are the folks like the folks of the west
Canty and couthy and kindly, our best
There I would hie me and there I would rest
At home with my own folks in Islay

And it's westering home with a song in the air
Light of me eye and it's goodbye to care
Laughter and love are a welcoming there
Pride of my heart my own love

Now I'm at home and at home I do lay
Dreaming of riches that come from Cathay
I'll hop a good ship and be on my way
And bring back my fortune to Islay

And it's westering home with a song in the air
Light of me eye and it's goodbye to care
Laughter and love are a welcoming there
Pride of my heart my own love

Friday, April 10, 2009


That was great. I loved the quote "THESE ARE MY CREDENTIALS" which is what an American officer said to a Nazi officer who arrogantly demanded to see his credentials before surrendering. The American general pointed at his soldiers, tattered ,dirty, with their heads bloodied but unbowed and arms at the ready and said:THESE ARE MY CREDENTIALS. The German officer surrendered without another word.

I will share a few more I learned from Auld Pop and his Argyll and HLI comrades:

1)“Tis good to have comrades the day of battle” (LA a bhlair, ‘s math na cairdean);

this is inscribed on the monument to the Argylls in the Ypres Salient just a stone’s throw from Black Watch Corner where at one point four Black Watch soldiers with 40 rifles –covering the retreat for the Regiment held the line against 900 German attackers. The fire was so rapid and accurate that the German commander was convinced the Allies had a new secret weapon –a highly powerful light machine gun of some sort. The four soldiers retreated under the cover of darkness each taking two rifles, destroying the rest. They had literally fought to their last cartridges without flinching. That is duty. That is courage. That was Black Watch, Argyll and HLI.

2)“A sojer will die for the Colours but no for an extra twa bob a day!” (Thomas Munro, Sr. ASH, MM)

3)Coughing in the morning we all told Auld Pop he should stop smoking he said:

“There’s many a mon in the cemetery who would like to have a cough like that”

(Tha mora dhaoine anns a’ cladh a mhiannaicheadh casad a bhith aca mar seo! )

4) Na earbsa ‘a’ claidheamh briste (Dinna trust a broken sword –claymore)

5) Mire Catha (MEER KA…the ancient blood lust; the battle frenzy…when its kill or be killed)

6) In Waverly Mrs Flockhart asks “and will ye face the tearing chields (youth) , the dragoons Ensign Maccombich?

“Claw for claw, as Conan said to Satan. Mrs. Flockart, and the devil tak the shortest nails.”

7)There is an old saying :

(perhaps you remember ROB ROY the final scene: Cha Dh’fhag claidheamh Fhinn riamh fuigheall beauma!


8)There is a peace to be found only after war (An deidh cogaidh thig sith).

9)Tha tinneas feachd (There is a sickness the day of battle i.e. cowardice)

10) Chan eil treun ris nach cuirear…..There is not a brave mon who will not be put to the test.

11) AONAIBH RI CHÉILE…..Unite together!!! (slogan of the Camerons)

12)Touch not the cat but with a glove! (slogan of the ancient Clan Chattan)

13)BUAIDH NO BAS Conquer or DIE (victory or death!! Slogan of the MacNeils and others)

14) It’s a sair field where aa a’ slain has it Gaelic equivalent as well IS CRUAIDH AN CATH as NACH tig aon fhear!

(It’s a hard fought field where not a single man escapes with life)

15) Na SIR ‘S NA SEACHAIN AN CATH…Never seek a fight but do not shun it either.

16) Na tarraing mi gun adhbhar, ‘s na pill mi gun chliu! DRAW ME NOT WITHOUT CAUSE, NOR RETURN ME WITHOUT HONOR (almost Spartan; a good inscription for a gun or sword)

16) I love peace, I am a peaceful quiet man but I am not a pacifist. I remember Dunkirk and other places.

“Am fear nach gleidh n-airm san t-sith, cha bhi iad aige ‘n am a chogaidh”

“The mon who does not keep arms in peace will not know where to find them in a time of war.”

17) “Guadacanal is not just an word; it is an emotion.” US Marine

18) Caisteal Foghlais na theine (Foulis Castle is Ablaze; Foulis is seat of the Clan Munro for over 1000 years; it means the beacon light is ablaze –“drop what you are doing, gird your sword and gather to the chief’s command”; it recalls a famous moment in history when the life of Mary Queen of Scots was in danger due to treachery. Robert Mor (The Great)Munro called on the entire strength of his clan 700 men aged 16 to 60 and sent for help from Clan Fraser where he had kinsmen. Within hours Mary had over 1000 men to defend her honor and her safety. Many of the Munro men at that time were Protestant but they did not hesitate to follow their chief who had been a close friend of Mary of Guise. In 1914 and in 1939 the Munro chief sent a telegram to cities all over the Commonwealth including Glasgow that said simply CAISTEAL FOGHLAS NA THEINE (Foulis Castle Ablaze). Many answered the call AN GAIRM the first day. My grandfather enlisted August 4, 1914, along side of him were all his kith and kin his Scottish pals including some Americans just visiting at the time such as “American”Johnny Robertson. My father enlisted December 8, 1941. My godmother’s fiancée, the son of an Argyll, enlisted Dec 8, 1941; he was killed in Guadalcanal Jan 1943 at Henderson Field. Our kinsman Douglas Munro was killed Sept. 27 1942 at Guadalcanal. My uncles enlisted in 1942 (my father’s brother Jos was at Glasgow University and he had promised his mother he would finish his studies; he enlisted in the US 8th Army Air Corps where he served as a B-17 mechanic; he was a naturalized American citizen) My Uncle Norman saw action in Normandy, the Ardennes and helped liberate DACHAU concentration camp in April 1945 (10th Armored Division).

19) Hector Munro’s son was killed in the first world war and his grandson Captain Patrick Munro was captured in June 1940 at Dunkirk where his men fought ten days after the evacuation with the 51st Highland Division. Except for two men every single man was killed, wounded or captured. Capt. Munro was a POW for five years. Many worked as slave laborers for five years. The story of the two men who disobeyed orders and refused to surrender is part of Argyll legend. They dressed in civilian clothes and made their way up the French coast. They were arrested by the Gestapo but did not respond to any questions in English and spoke only Gaelic. A German linguist was called in and said ,yes in fact, they might be Irish fishermen (Ireland was neutral at the time). The Irish consul was called –he must have recognized they were allied soldiers- and asked the Germans to look at their scarred hands, were they not the hands of fishermen? The Irishmen said without a doubt these are brother Gaels –lost at sea- and he demanded their immediate repatriation . The Germans agreed. The two men were sent to Switzerland, flew to Lisbon and on to Dublin. Took the train to Belfast and the boat to Scotland, visited their mothers and sweethearts, rejoined the Army and were among the first British soldiers to cross the Rhine in 1945.

True story: source the museum of the ARGYLL AND SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS.





with thanks to BR, ex USMC



Friday, January 25, 2008
Sunday Herald Andy Arnold Brian Friel’s Translations
The tongue twister
A new production of Brian Friel's translations shows the Irish playwright has finally taken his rightful place on our national stage
By Mark Brown
IT MAY have been more by accident than design but when the Citizens' Theatre Company in Glasgow staged its award-winning production of Brian Friel's Molly Sweeney in 2005, it was beginning something of a late-flourishing love affair between Scottish theatre and the veteran Irish playwright. Since then, Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre has staged Friel's 1977 play Living Quarters, the National Theatre of Scotland has revived 1994's Molly Sweeney for a national tour, and London's Attic Theatre visited Scotland with Afterplay and The Bear, a Friel double-bill inspired by Chekhov.

Now, as its first production of 2008, Glasgow's Arches Theatre Company is appearing at the Citizens' with Friel's acclaimed drama Translations. Written in 1980, at the height of the Troubles, the play is set in County Donegal in the 1830s in a "hedge school" - the name given to those schools which, in defiance of the penal laws, provided Irish children with a Catholic education.

Requiring a 10-strong cast, the play explores the politics of language - the British are attempting to forcibly repress the speaking of Irish - through the prism of complex relations between Irish and English characters. To complicate matters further, there are also the strained relations between Owen, a thriving city man who has a career in Dublin and speaks both English and Gaelic, and his Irish-speaking Donegal friends and relations.

Andy Arnold, who directs the new Arches production, has wanted to stage the play for 12 years, but has only now secured the rights to produce it.
"I think it's Friel's greatest play," he says. "It's set in a particular time and place, and you can't escape that, in terms of the 1830s in Ireland and what's going on there. However, the issue of language, in particular, has universal appeal, and a particular resonance here in Scotland."

Actor Cara Kelly, who performed in Sam Mendes's acclaimed 1993 production of Translations at London's Donmar Warehouse, praises the subtlety of Friel's writing. Indeed much of the power of his play lies in his ability to broach the biggest political questions through the most ambiguous human interactions.

"He is a very political writer, but it's oblique," says Kelly. "A lot of great Irish writing is oblique. There's not an absolute certainty as to what it means. I think that's one of the fascinating things about it."

Arnold agrees. "I always say that Translations is the best political play that's ever been written, but it hasn't got one political statement in it," he says. "It's all about real people, and you care for them greatly, and you see everything being destroyed in front of your eyes, almost without any resistance. It's so appalling that, whatever your political persuasion, you're greatly moved by it. And that's how it should be - the best political theatre appeals to people whatever their politics."

Audiences who have seen the recent productions of Molly Sweeney and Living Quarters will understand what Arnold means. Friel's writing promotes a remarkable degree of empathy. Although the central characters in those plays - a blind woman facing the prospect of restorative surgery, and a latter-day Irish military hero losing his new, young wife - are very specific, their emotions are so brilliantly expressed by the playwright that we identify strongly with them.

For Kelly, the previous neglect of Friel in Scotland is a source of bemusement. "It always puzzled me why Friel seemed to be ignored by Scottish theatre. Round the corner from the Citizens' Theatre, there's a bus leaving for Donegal every night of the week. They had a ready-made audience that would have gone to see him. They did O'Casey and Synge, but not Friel.

"Friel was happening in Ireland, and in London, and in New York. But in Scotland writers like Alan Ayckbourn were preferred to him, and yet Friel has far more resonance with Scottish audiences than the Ayckbourns of this world."

It's a case well put, and hard to argue against. However, with this latest major Friel production, the third in less than three years, it appears that Scottish theatre has belatedly realised that the writer belongs in the pantheon of Irish greats.

Translations is at the Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow from January 23 to February 2


Kathleen TAPA LEAT (thanks) for sharing the news of the premiere of Brian Friel's TRANSLATIONS; Scottish Gaeldom could use such a playwright as well.

When a culture is in its historical phase of growing towards unity, its language reflects the unite and power whereas when a culture is in the process of change, dispersal and disintegration a language likewise loses its power and prestige.

This happened in the Irish Gaeltacht 1650-to 1850 and the Scottish Highlands, particularly after Culloden and the Clearances.

Friel captures this phenomenon of assimilation and subtractive bilingualism with great feeling and art. He shows for example that the abandonment of the ancient lingua franca of the Irish Gaels was as much their own conscious decision as a response to rapidly changing social and economic conditions as something they were coerced into.

Without economic regeneration and without local political autonomy minority linguistic groups tend to be dispersed and assimilated into the larger dominant linguistic culture.

For a language and culture to live young people must believe in it and society must respect it and foster it. There is hope for the survival of Gaelic today simply because the attitude of people and the government towards the language has changed. But the ever-increasing centrifugal force of economic migration away from Gaelic-speaking fishing and farming communities and to the cities of Britain and abroad, the impact of English media and intermarriage all cast a shadow on the future of the language.

The first Scottish Gaelic periodical to engage in linguistic self-defense and revitalization in a conscious manner was An Gàidheal / The Gael. Interestingly enough it was founded in the exiled community of Gaels in Toronto, Canada and only later moved to Glasgow. Its publisher was Angus Nicholson and the first words on the first page of the first issue (July 1871) make his agenda clear:

Tha an Gàidheal òg so a cur failte chridheil air gach co-bhrathair Gaidhealach, air feadh an t-shaoghail fharsuing, a thuigeas an canain a tha e labhairt. Bha e na fhior dhuilichinn linne, bho chionn fada, nach robh paipeir na leabhar sam bith de'n t-sheorsa so aig na Gaidheil nan cainnt mhaithreil (eadhon an Alba fhein) ni a tha na Goill gu minig le tair a cur an ceill, mar dhearbhadh nach 'eil an cainnt no na sgriobhuidhean againn airidh air an cur a mach no 'n cumail air chuimhne ann an leabhraichean no paipeirean naigheachd agus nach robh anns na Gaidheil ach sluagh fiadhaich, borb, aig nach robh suim da leithid.
This young Gael sends a heart-felt welcome to each fellow Gael throughout the wide world who understands the language that he speaks.

We have considered it a true hardship, for a long time, that the Gaels did not have any newspaper or book of this kind in their mother tongue (even in Scotland itself), a situation that English-speakers frequently express with contempt as proof that our language and our literature are not worthy of putting out or recording in books or in newspapers, and that Gaels are merely a wild and barbarous people who placed no importance in such matters.

There is no question that without street and road signs, without Gaelic language maps -as now are available in places like Inverness, without sports broadcasts, without menus, without museum pamphlets and translations, without radio broadcasts, films or song recordings, without schooling -including Gaelic medium schools and Celtic language departments-Gaelic would totally lack exposure , dignity and prestige. A language will only survive if it is useful, loved, and honored as an indispensable part of one's culture and heritage, national or otherwise.

I hope it is true what the bard Niall MacLeoid sang:

Cha 'n fhas an eachdraidh lag le aois
'S cha' n fhaigh a' Ghaidhlig bas.

(History will not die of old age
and neither will Old Gaelic die).

How much shall she live? That we do not know but we know she is in her last innings. But we will be rooting for her -and praying for her- to the very last. Dileas gu bas air muir agus air tir! (Leal til death on land and on sea!). Yes I say to all, especially to lowland and Highland Scots, CUM GAIDHLIG BEO....keep the ancient tongue of the Gael alive!

Everything depends on the last cohorts of young Highland women and their children as well as the sympathy and support of the greater Scottish and British community.

Ah yes, one thing is certain, at least, NON OMNIS MORIAR we can say to her....THOU SHALT NOT WHOLLY DIE..."

Yesterday, in the San Joaquin Valley, USA, we heard young women sing ORAN MOR MHICLEOID (the Big Song of MacLeod),

in the hall where once music sounded
and the haunt of bards is now
without joy, without pleasure, without conviviality,
without sport,without play,
without the serried ranks of drinking horns,
without generous hospitality towards men of learning,
without joyful festive spirit and without tuneful voices!

and THEID MI DHACHAIDH ( I will go homeward)

Theid mi dhachaidh ho ro dhachaidh, ( I will go homeward)
Theid mi dhachaidh chro Chin t-Saile, the cattle fold of Kintail
Theid mi dhachaidh ho ro dhachaidh, ( I will go homeward
Theid mi dhachaidh chro Chinn t-Saile. (Aye, I will go homeward to the cattle fold of Kintail)

and O Teannaibh Dluth Is Togaibh Fonn (COME CLOSE AND RAISE UP A SONG)

O beir an t-soraidh seo nis bhuam ( Now take this greeting from me ))
Thar chuain is chruaich is bheannaibh (Over the ocean, hills and mountains
A dh' ionnsaigh Muile nam beann fuar (To Mull of the cool high bens )
O eilean uaine a' bharraich (And the green island of the birch trees )

Gur truagh a' Ghàidhlig bhi 'na càs (It's a pity Gaelic is in such a poor state )
O 'n dh' fhalbh na Gàidheil a bh' againn (Since the clearing o' the Gaels that were once there)
A ghineil òig tha tighinn 'nan àit' (Oh young people who take their place )
O togaibh suas a bratach (Please unfurl the Gaelic banner)

Thanks again...

MISE LE MEAS (that's me with respect)


Since it is Good Friday and we are in communion with the saints, there is an old one but a good one:

1) Child questions his mother: “Why don’t male angels have beards?
Mother answers: “Because men get into heaven by a close shave.”

2) Is mine min na gran, ‘TIS FINER MEAL COMPAIRED TO GRAIN
Is mine mnai na fir! AND FINER THAN ARE WOMEN THAN MEN.”

A very Highland sentiment and of course very polite to womankind.

3) Am saighdear as fhaide chaidh on taigh,
,’s e an ceol bu binne chuala e riamh THEID MI DACHAIGH”
The sweetest music he ever heard was “THEID MI DACHAIDH”)
Which means “Going Home” a lovely melody called also the Seaforth Lullaby)

Kintail" (Theid Mi Dhachaidh Chró Chinn T-Sáile) - "I will go home to Kintail" –is a Gaelic song which deals with the perennial themes of exile and return. In piping circles the tune is sometimes known as "The Seaforth Lullaby", and bears all the hallmarks of the pibroch-song tradition. Along with Lord Lovat’s Lament it is one of the most beloved and memorable piping tunes.
Christine Primrose, who should know, told me it was written after the bloody Battle of Sheriffmuir (1715) during one of the last Highland Risings against the authority of the Crown. According to the Gaelic Society of Inverness, we have only a fragment of the original poem.,M1

A) Talitha MacKenzie and the Browne Sisters (of California) have made wonderful, evocative recordings of this haunting melody. (SOLAS)


Good Celtic music is a place "full up of cianalas" that is to say Celtic nostalgia or strong feelings of deep love, feeling, regret, joy and I will add a touch of mysticism. THE BROWNE SISTERS and George Cavanaugh in READY FOR THE STORM have this.
They sing CRO CHINN T-SAILE is one of the 'Big Songs' and the Browne Sisters do it justice. You might recognize "Theid mi dhachaidh" as one of the moving instrumental melodies on the great ROB ROY CD.
Both technically and emotionally, their performance here is very expressive: pure Highland silk.

Yet one of my favorite Highland sayings is this:

4) Cha nigh na tha dh’uisge Not all the water in the sea could wash away
Sa mhuir ar cairdeas. Our kinship, our friendship, our fellowship.

SO says the leal and true mon.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Heresy For Today: How to find a Mate and the Joys of Marriage

I think Feminism has done young women a very great disservice but putting them at loggerheads with men and their own natures. The fact is , young women’s best years for fertility and attractiveness are between 16 and 27. Nothing can change that. After age 27 the fertility of women drops over incrementally year by year until by age 40 or 42 or so conception is difficult or impossible. Therefore, women who sacrifice their family life for professional careers are often opting for a life of loneliness and childlessness.

There must be great many women 40 and above who now regret they never had children though I doubt, if I may be so bold, there are many American woman above 40 who lack sexual experience. But most of their experience is of the dud-in-the mud hook up kind and so really is mostly wasted time.

My father always taught me “never date a girl who would not make a good mate” and I think that was good advice. I have known many women and been friends with many women and most importantly I have maintained friendships with many women of all ages PRECISELY because I did not insist or want our relationships to be intimate.

Sexual intimacy (eros), in my opinion, either strengthens existing “storgic love” (affection) and philia love (friendship) and then blossoms into conjugal love –a love that can last a lifetime- or it destroys itself. A relationship built upon youthful physical attraction is to build upon a foundation of sand. Sexual intimacy is the icing on the cake but is not very nutritious or satisfying by itself.

Men –and I am a man- despise what they can get easily and if physical sexual attractiveness is the only thing holding a couple together then it will be doomed because no one stays 19 or 25 forever.

On the other hand, when young women gradually develop ‘storgic” love affection for many men and honest friendship with many men they will never be, in my opinion for want of male admirers and male friends.

The key to having a successful personal life is meeting many people of common interests and cultivating those relationships. Within those relationships you will meet other people of the same sex or the opposite sex or older mentors who will introduce you to people of similar character and interests. But if you spend your life with superficial hookups you will end up like “I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS” (a little masterpiece by Tom Wolfe).

This is a difficult lesson to teach young people, particularly young women who fear , it seems, not getting dates and being ignored entirely particularly in a school youth culture atmosphere. But the way around this of course is not to have a life centered on friendships with classmates only or people who habituate bars or beaches (probably the worst place in the world to meet people). My own children are not angels by any means but are good and moral persons. But they have always had multiple set of communties with which to meet people and keep social networks open on many fronts. And I think that is the key for young people to meet others and perhaps find that special one.

One should cultivate many communities and particularly healthy communities such as family friends, and people in your Church community or other clubs like ball room dancing, language clubs, book clubs etc. Social relationships built upon debauchery (excessive consumption of food and drink) are among the worst kind and prematurely ruin your looks, your character and your health.

One day you wake up and your are 30 or 35 and have lost or are losing your good looks and your figure; that is no time to settle down and look for a decent mate and of course men of worth who want to start a family are not likely to marry someone past 35.

That is just a fact of nature; men can marry and marry successfully even late in life –though I do not recommend it myself and women ought to marry younger though I don’t recommend marriage between teenagers because usually these relationships are built mostly on physical attraction alone and both parties lack maturity to make good choices.

There are at least six reasons NOT TO MARRY (a gentleman thinks of such things for himself , his charges and his friends).

#1 Don’t marry someone you don’t really know. If you are pressured to rush to the altar as my Uncle Norman was you have to ask yourself. “What is the reason for the rush?” If he or she truly cares they will give you time to be sure.

#2 Don’t every marry someone you don’t like or have anything in common with BESIDES sex and physical attraction. Everyone I have ever known married someone with whom he or she felt a strong sexual attraction. I could be wrong but this is the easiest part of a relationship. Speaking as a man most women 16 to 60 are sexually attractive at some point in their lives. Once again, speaking from personal experience, most women hit their peak attractiveness from age 25 to about 42. Most women, just like most men, unless they work very hard at it, start to lose the battle of the bulge in their 40’s. Once again, perhaps it is just me, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. If I compare the looks of my friend’s wives who are excessively thin they seem more pinched, more wrinkled and less attractive with each passing year. Other women, with a more matronly look, remain very pleasant to be with and to look at. Some women are astonishingly beautiful for a short period of time and others have a high lifetime batting average and remain attractive for a longer period of time. There is such a thing as growing old gracefully. The bottom line is if you can’t respect the behavior, habits and values of your potential mate, rethink the situation. What will it be like with this person once the haze of romantic love fades? Could you love your wife (once again, speaking as a man) if she lost her size 6 figure? Let’s face it multiple pregnancies and the years usually wreak havoc with a woman’s figure. And time does not remain still for any of us in any case. It is a mistake to marry for beauty alone, a very big mistake.

#3 If the people around you who know you well and love you –your parents, siblings, close relatives, teachers, and wise friends- are counseling you against marriage to a certain person, you must pause. Although they don’t know your potential spouse as well as you do, they are not as emotionally mixed up as you are by the strong sexual attraction or romantic feeling you have for that other person. This is particularly true if the couple is sexually active (which I counsel against but I am a realist). Nothing fools you that you have to have your spouse like an active sex life before marriage. I wonder what purpose a honeymoon serves for people like that? And why even wear white? But if people around you are expressing doubts you should at least give yourself some time to think about what you are doing. Imagine, for example, if your spouse had no money, lost all of his or her teeth and gained 100 pounds. My father always said to me that I should look at the mother of the potential bride because it was a reasonable indication of what the daughter would look like in 25 or 30 years with 25, 30 or 50 additional pounds. I would add another proviso too. I don’t think it is important to marry for money and position. I think marrying for personal happiness and family reasons are the most important. But that having been said there is something one should always consider. It is one thing to marry someone who has next to no money but it is another to marry someone with extravagant tastes and $50,000 in debt!!!! Most marriages fall apart for two basic reasons: lack of sexual compatibility and financial distress.

#4 building upon that last point. Never marry anyone in whom there are signs of unstable behavior. If you beloved needs to be drunk or high to have a good time, I think it is a serious cause to worry. If he or she can never hold down any kind of job at all in the last few years find out why. Can’t he or she get along with the boss or with coworkers.. Is the discipline of work too much for him or her? Once again, I have never been a great success in life but I have always worked. I worked my way up from being an ex-soldier, a laborer in construction and unloading rail cars to sales, to being a bank employee, then finally a Community College instructor and high school teacher. No one has ever asked me for my resume or offered me a job but I have always been respected as someone who was a hard worker, honest and loyal and have so always been gainfully employed in my life.

#5 And lastly to reiterate a point mentioned before if your primary drive for getting married is an overpowering urge to have –or continue to have –sex with this person, STOP. Sex is important for a good marriage but sex is NOT love. It is absurd to overvalue physical love. Speaking as a man, men are beasts and I think it is true to say, that in the dark, as has been said, women are all the same if that’s all you want from a woman. But once again that is not love. Real love is sharing laughter, sharing experience, sharing children, sharing affection, trust. Physical love (eros) can provide the spark and the glue for the beginning of a relationship but it cannot provide the substance. Being in love and having love in a marriage is something other and something more than being sexually aroused. Not all desire is love though it may always be lust. The desire for a woman period might just be lust but the desire for a specific woman is another. Some people say this is love too but I do not ; love that is merely transitory and sexual is not love merely as Anthony Burgess called it in A Clockwork Orange, “the old in and out”.
I have seen many successful marriages between mature males (25 or so )with young women as young as 18 or 19. I believe that male and female should be about the same age though there is nothing wrong with a woman being slightly older (my wife was 27 when we married and I was 26).

But the reason our marriage has lasted is because

1) we developed a close friendship that was maintained chiefly by correspondence I always sought close relationships with women and I do not deny I always desired to marry. We have always liked and trusted one another.
2) We did not seriously date until we had known each other for about seven years. I was just starting out and could not talk about having a serious relationship until I had a job and some money but I was happy to have her loving friendship and esteem.
3) I respected my fiancée and was in no hurry into things she was not ready for
4) Our wedding night and our honeymoon were really special and a kind of heaven
5) We have always been faithful to one another and we communicate.
6) We believe that marriage is a sacrament and that we are un matriomonio which is a singular thing in Spanish
7) We have been best friends for almost 36 years and husband and wife for almost 27 –we were married on the 9th of June 1982 (St.Columba’s day).
8) Naturally we have had ups and downs but it has been of tremendous help that I have a close storgic love and philia relationship with my wife’s sister, my mother in law, my wife’s uncles and brothers so our relationship is not built up OUR relationship alone. Having the support of my family and her family has been vital for us and has helped maintain trust and closeness. And now we have support from the bottom up; we have three children (aged 17,19 and 24) and we are a mutual aid and friendship society!
There is no question my middle daughter has always been a peacemaker. She too wanted our household to stick together.
9) We also have many married friends most of whom are Catholic or Evangelical Christians
10) We take morality seriously. I would not say I am a prude exactly but I believe in the virtue of modesty and self-control what the Greeks call sophrosyne.
11) This is not to say I have not had temptations in life but I avoid most temptations by putting my cards on the table. I will be friends with the opposite sex –and I have many friends –former students and teachers aged 21-80 look at some of my facebook friends and you will see a great variety of ages. But I never pretend I am single and have no desire and no interest whatsoever in obtaining a sexual conquest for a single night. That is an expense of spirit in a waste of shame for no purpose. But on the other hand I would gladly be the friend of any woman –aged 21-80- for a lifetime as long as they know I only want their friendship and spiritual and intellectual companionship not anything else. But this has not been easy because particularly when I was younger, many young women , on the prowl themselves like so many female Don Juans- deeply resented the rejection and took it as an insult. On the other hand , women who are 50,60,70,80 DO appreciate the friendship and kindness of a (somewhat younger man). They know it is their minds and their souls which are dear not their physical charms.

Nonetheless, alienation of affections is one of the primary reasons marriage fail. They say the French (the elite anyway) have their solution –it seems horrible to me and contrary to fidelity and honesty- a man keeps his lover and his wife separately. That is to say one has (presumably young, thin and attractive) temporary lover and a permanent mother-manager. Virtual bigamy or polygamy you might call it. It seems like a bore to me. If you wife is your partner and best friend don’t you want to spend as much time as possible with your best friend? But there is no question, however, the issue of extramarital sex is present in many marriages.
Once again, speaking as a man, one must avoid excessive temptations and exercise self-control. Most of my women friends are safely married or far away. I never pretend to be unmarried and do not socialize with younger unmarried women. It seems to me Lotharios must neglect their families, their work or their intellectual life because if one is dedicated to those things one simply has no time to roll up ephemeral sexual contests. Once –just once- while I was studying at UVA I went to a spaghetti dinner at the Catholic parish in the university. What a mistake! The participants were overwhelmingly single young women in their early to mid 20’s. I was in my late 40’s at the time. I was very polite but I did not stick around and I never took the bus to that church again. If I am alone I make sure I go to early Mass. Sometimes when I am alone on a business trip or home alone I may have a conversation at restaurant or bar with a younger woman –a college student for example- but only in an avuncular fashion. I can’t understand teachers who want to date their students. Of course, I love my students and want to best for them but because I love them I want to do them no harm. I am there to teach them not to seduce them or abuse them. I really am much happier to be a mentor, a friend, an invited guest at their wedding and then perhaps their child’s teacher or their child’s godfather. Such is the joy of a civilization of love.

#6 Never get married because you feel you have to or everyone else is getting married. It is chivalry to treat your date with respect. It is foolishness to marry someone because OOPS she says she is pregnant. I have known friends who married their pregnant girl friends but did not know if they were the father. That is no way to start a marriage. Once again fidelity and trust are the basis of any good relationship.

In choosing this unique person for our mate, this combination of history and charm, this merging of flesh and soul, we are looking for a lifetime of love that will sustain us. If we are wise we will come to understand that genuine love is not a free gift but an earned achievement. Perhaps we catch love when it comes our way like a fever or virus; I do not know. But I do know this true love is based on fidelity and it is up to us to learn how to grow in love. A marriage, an pos or matriomonio presupposes, traditionally, love and duration though I recall an old saying that “marriage is like a bee; there’s honey in it but there is also a sting in it.” My father knew Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 by heart and I often heard his collection of Roland Colman recordings of the Sonnets. Ronald Colman was not just a movie actor to us; we remembered him as a highly decorated combat soldier and volunteer of the London Scottish in WWI (so were Basel Rathbone and Claude Raines).As a small boy it was made clear to me that Shakespeare was almost as authoritative as the Bible or Burns and there is no question it was an important part of my education as man or gentleman. He also made it clear to me how much he loved my mother. And let me say that my Auld Pop was widowed never talked about any other woman except his wife. She was so talked about and so quoted by my father and mother and grandfather that I almost came to think as if I had known her myself though she died almost twenty years before I was born. Therefore such values are caught or shown by example, not taught.

That is fidelity –to love someone who gave you so much love during your life that you never forget that person. Certainly love of that kind is a selfless love because the dead cannot do anything for you themselves except perhaps connect to you in communion and comfort you through their souls and memory. One of our favorite modern movies is Sense and Sensibility which uses this poem to show Marianne Dashwood’s conceptions of love.

Ah, yes, love’s not Time’s fool:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come:

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

I have been called a hopeless romantic but to that charge I say romantic chivalrous men have more fun and sing the best love songs because they know what chivalry and love is all about. As Burns sang “Gae seek your pleasures where you will etc.” Chivalry speaks about romantic love and the “leal mon” knows about and cares about romantic love and fidelity. They also know “modesty is the true beauty of woman”’; in other words modesty and chastity are sexy and very desirable. People today have lots of sex –or at least they boast about it- but they find relationships flat and devoid of romantic love. That is because Eros-love (sex) promises more than it can deliver, especially in regards to companionship, trust and permanence. Why? Because we perceive romantic love as something spontaneous, something that does not demand work patience and a strong moral base. The wisdom, literature and songs of our forefolk tell us something that is quite the opposite. The very essence of romantic love, true love is commitment, trust and fidelity. This is where, in my opinion, chivalry provides a vital ingredient. Love relationships provide the laboratory where the virtues of chivalry are tested to their fullest, and the manliness of a “leal mon” is proved. With time and fidelity true love grows and true love not only stimulates the best in us but it is a recipe for happiness and love that can last a lifetime –and beyond. Aye. “S truth I am telling ye!”

WE CLOSE with the GAEL a hymn to the LEAL MON who will find his true love no matter what happens. My daughter loves this film and so do I. Great music
Of course many of the main characters are Gaels; Col. Munro and his daughters and it is presumed the Camerons and Hawkeye are Highlanders by blood.


Monday, April 6, 2009


Of course, I know the DREAM OF SCIPIO, as a fragment I read in Moses Hades's old Modern Liberary anthology of Cicero's writings. There is no queston Dream of Scipio is a masterpice to be put on the same level as Flauber's Salmbo and the best historial novels of all time. It is that good. Pears masterly entwices three separate story lines, in three different historical settings. This is a tour de force by a man of an very impressive breadth of culture. I hesistate to say but I few Americans today, even those with vaunted Ivy League degress have the culture to appreciate such a book.

The first story, chronologically speaking, centers around Manlius Hippomanes, a member of the 5th century Gallo-Roman artistocracy. The Roman Empire is being shattered under the weight of of barbarian hordes from without out and a cultural malaise within. Manlius, is a man of culture and his intensely proud of his Romanitas With horro he watches his world gradually fall apart all around him.
I remember vividly the last teacher of rhetoric; he is killed when the ceiling literally falls in on him. His few students merely stare at him and grumble they won't get their money back and wander off. Such is the ignominius death of an academy that was probably centuries old and boasted thousands of graduates.

Manlius is anxious and desperate and enshroued with gloom and hoplessness until he becomes aquainted with Sophia, the brilliant daughter of a prominent scholar of Greek philosphy. Manlius falls into love with her, more for her mind than her body. Their learned conversations are fascinating and of course echo spiritual and cultural problems of our time. Sophia convinces Manlinus that the only institution capable of keeping the spark of civilzation and learning alive is the Church. Manlius becomes a Bishop and shows how the seeds of Caesaropapism are born. He is faced with problems unimaginable, invading armies, internal strife and decay. His transformation is fascinating to follow. Sophia herself lives to a very old age and dies. Much later she is transformed into a saint of the church.

Many centuries later, a young poet and scholar Olivier de Noyen, begins to study the writings of Manlius, which are fictional by the way. They appear to be a sequel to Cicero's stoic and neo-platonic writings (most of which were lost in the Middle Ages) but I think they sympbolize the intellectual and philosophical heritage of Greco-Roman civilzation.

Noyen also lives in times of trouble, with the Catholic Church descending into corruption. Meanwhile the Black Death sweeping through Europe. Noyen gets swept up in a plot to move the papacy back to Rome from its position in France, giving power back to the Italian church officials. During his travels, Noyen falls in love with the servant girl of his Jewish teacher. He falls absolutely in love with her, but he can never have her because of her religion. As the plague sweeps through Europe, many in the church urge the mass slaughter of the Jews of Europe. This is an ironic precuror of course to the Holocaust and a great stain on the history of the Roman Catholic Church. Noyen must see to it that this does not happen, while continuing an academic tradition that once again is near extinction.

The last story center around Julien Barneuve, a 20th century scholar from France. Julien is a student of Oliviers writing, and begins to understand the dedication of the man and his campaign to preserve knowledge.

Julien's Europe is one of trouble, with the Nazi's ascendent and many in France, including the "learned" class, encouraging new forms of government, i.e Fascism or Communism. Freedom is old, a failure. As the Nazi's invade, Julien becomes a censor for the Vichy government. He too falls in love with a Jew, who he hides desperately from the authorities. He is forced to examine his own actions and his personal philosophy as civilization, again, seems to be quickly dying.

The Dream of Scipio's central theme is that when civilzation fails, when things fall apart, when the dark side of humanity -what I call the mire-catha or ancient blood lust, there is still hope. One can carry on an hope to preserve knowledge and wisdom for better times. Of course it is most often through serving one's one group that one can benefit mankind. A nation, a regiment, a profession, a creed often commands all our loyalties because it contributes irreplaceable values to the sum of our civilizationand therefore individual human happiness. The men and women of culture know that the present does not exist. Only our 'splendid ancient heritage" exists and only the future exists. We have a duty to them both. Scipio's Dream is one of those splendid books that one can read over and over.

The Roman Road

one of the finest examples of a surviving Roman road in Britain, Blackstone Edge, on Rishworth Moor near Manchester

The Roman Road runs straight and bare
As the pale parting-line in hair
Across the heath. And thoughtful men
Contrast its days of Now and Then,
And delve, and measure, and compare;

Visioning on the vacant air
Helmeted legionnaires, who proudly rear
The Eagle, as they pace again
The Roman Road.

But no tall brass-helmeted legionnaire
Haunts it for me. Uprises there
A mother's form upon my ken,
Guiding my infant steps, as when
We walked that ancient thoroughfare,
The Roman Road.

-- Thomas Hardy

In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.


Sunday, April 5, 2009



Old and New…ancient Gaelic melody and Jewish-American genius….


This is the end for which we twain are met. (VILLON)

In memory I hear the ghost of a tune…

“We were made to love another
For man was made to go two by two
I’ll stand by you and be your lover
We will work to make life anew….”

Cianalas is the only word for it which reminds us that the greatest distance between two points is time…..for some joy and sadness will be forever mingled…they cannot forget but neither can they return…

The Greek word for amber was êléktron, "resplendent thing", because of its colour (the sun was poetically called êléktôr); because of its ability to attract dust once rubbed, the name gave the word electricity.

Nowadays (in Modern Greek) it is berenikis in reference to the blonde hair of Berenice II, mother of Ptolemy Philopator.

In one legend, Phaeton, son of Helios the Sun asked to drive his father's chariot for one day.

But his awkwardness caused disastrous fires and Zeus struck him with a lightning bolt.

His sisters the Electrides wept and wept over his body until the gods in pity turned them into poplar trees on the shores of the Eridan river; but inconsolable they wept still, and their tears were now of amber.

According to Sophocles, amber was the petrified tears of the sisters of the hero Meleagres, who were changed into birds and weep the death of their brother:’

Say a prayer for my cousin Paul who is weeping just now and embracing his son Andrew Tracey ; they lost the love of their lives last week and it was not a natural death but a heinous and brutal and senseless murder by person who was more beast than man…there is a thing –do not doubt it- as the ancient blood lust…the mire catha….which craves violence and is not sated until it tastes warm human blood…

…”blunt my spear and slack my bow like an empty ghost I go…
Death the only hope I know,
Since they tore me from they breast…O Maiden of Morven…”

“S mor mo mhulad, ‘S mor! GREAT IS MY SORROW, GREAT goes the auld orain.

Aye, there are inconsolable sorrows and aye there is amber still , amber tears…..petrified tears…

Dictes moy ou n'en quel pays
Est Flora le belle Romaine
Archipiades, ne Thaïs,
Qui fut sa cousine germaine,
Echo parlant quant ruyt ou maire
Dessus riviè ou sus estan,
Que beaultè ot trop plus qu'humaine.
Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan?"
Tell me from where I could entice
Flora the famous Roman whore,
or Archipiada or Thaïs
who they say was just as fair;
or Echo answering everywhere
across stream and pool and mere,
whose beauty was like none before -
where are the snows of yesteryear ?

At daybreak, when the falcon claps his wings,
No whit for grief, but noble heart and high,
With loud glad noise he stirs himself and sprigs,
And takes his meat and toward his lure draws nigh;
Such good I wish you! Yea, and heartily
I am fired with hope of true love's meed to get;
Know that Love writes it in his book; for why,
This is the end for which we twain are met.

Mine own heart's lady with no gainsayings
You shall be always wholly till I die;
And in my right against all bitter things
Sweet laurel with fresh rose its force shall try;
Seeing reason wills not that I cast love by
(Nor here with reason shall I chide or fret)
Nor cease to serve, but serve more constantly;
This is the end for which we twain are met.

And, which is more, when grief about me clings
Through Fortune's fit or fume of jealousy,
You sweet kind eye beats down her threatenings
As wind doth smoke; such power sits in your eye.
Thus in your field my seed of harvestry
Thrives, for the fruit is like me that I set;
God bids me tend it with good husbandry;
This is the end for which we twain are met.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


FOR DENISE TRACEY (1967-2009) wife of PAUL TRACEY my friend and my kith and kin


From Carmina Gadelica:-

You go home tonight to your winter home,
To your home of autumn and spring and summer;
You go home tonight to your eternal home,
To your eternal bed, your eternal slumber.

Sleep, sleep, put away your sorrow,
Sleep, sleep, put away your sorrow,
Sleep, sleep, put away your sorrow,
Sleepo, beloved, in the Rock of the fold.

Sleep tonight in your Mother’s bosom,
Sleep, darling, for she is lulling you;
Sleep tonight in the Virgin’s arms,
Sleep, my love, for she is kissing you.

Sleep, oh sleep in the calm of all calms,
Sleep, oh sleep in the guidance of all guidances,
Sleep, oh sleep in the love of all loves,
Sleep, my beloved, in the God of the Elements.

Thu dol dhachaigh a nochd dha do thaigh geamhraidh,
Dha do thaigh foghair is earraich is samhraidh;
Thu dol dhachaigh a nochd dha do thaigh bhioth-bhuan,
Dha do leabaidh bhioth-mhaireann, dha do chadal bhioth-shuain.

Caidil-sa, caidil, is cuir dhiot am bròn,
Caidil-sa, caidil, is cuir dhiot am bròn,
Caidil-sa, caidil, is cuir dhiot am bròn,
Caidil, a chagair, an Carraig na crò.

Caidil a nochd ann an uchd do Mhàthar,
Caidil, a luaidh, ’s i fhèin gad thàladh;
Caidil a nochd ann an glac na h-Òighe,
Caidil, a ghaoil, ‘s i fhèin gad phògadh.

Caidil, o caidil ann an ciùin nan ciùin,
Caidil, o caidil ann an iùl nan iùl,
Caidil, o caidil ann an rùn nan rùn
Caidil, a chiall, ann an Dia nan Dùl.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Some Highland Songs

Eilean Dorcha - Dark Island
Faclan le David Silver
The island of Benbecula was the inspiration for the emotive song The Dark Island. Written by David Silver of Inverness, the musician - journalist, who wrote the words, and was asked to write a song for a BBC Thriller called "The Dark Island", filmed here in Benbecula. He reveals how the quiet, lonely place was in mind for the number, and the words were set to music by the accomplished accordionist Ian Maclachlan from Creagorry. The tune has become a classic since it was first sung in 1963. There are more than 50 different recordings by Scot's, among them; Ann-Lorne Gillis, Peter Morrison and Kenneth Mackellar although fittingly the recording which gets most airing on radio is by Silver/Maclachlan on accordion.

The Dark Island Hotel opened on June 30th, 1981 originally for many years a small restaurant. This transformation developed through the years to its present 4 crown, Taste of Scotland, Les Routier status.

Why not read through the Dark Island words and reflect on the writers lyrics as follows:

1 Away to the west ward I'm longing to be,
Where the beauties of heaven unfold by the sea
Where the sweet purple heather blooms fragrant and free
On a hilltop high above - The Dark Island

Chorus Oh, isle of my childhood, I'm dreaming of thee,
As the steamer leaves Oban and passes Tiree
Soon I'll capture the magic that lingers for me
When I'm back once more upon - The Dark Island

2 So Gentle the sea breeze that ripples the bay
Where the stream joins the ocean and young children play
On the strand of pure silver I'll welcome each day
And I'll roam forever more - The Dark Island

3 True Gems of the Hebrides bathed in the light
Of the mid-summer dawning that follows the night
How I yearn for the cries of the seagull in flight
As they circle high above - The Dark Island


1 Air mo thùrus do'n iar 's ann bu mhiannach a bhi
Far bheil àilleachd nan Néimh dol fo sgéith 'sa chuan sios
Fraoch dearg 's e fo bhlàth fàile cùbhraidh cho saor
Air a' bheinn ud is àird 'san Eilean Dorcha

1-alt An mo thùras don iar 's leam bu mhiannach a bhi
Far bheil àilleachd nan eathar dol fo sgéith sa chuan sios,
Creag Dhearg 's e fo bhlàth faileadh cùbhraidh cho saor
Air a' bheinn ud as àird 'san Eilean Dorcha.

Séist Eilean òige mo ghràidh 's tu tha tàladh mo chridh'
Is mi seòladh bhon Obain 's a dol seachad Tiridh,
Bi mi glacadh a dh'aithghearr gach mais a tha 'gam dhith
'S bi mi fhìn air ais a-rithist 'san Eilean Dorcha.

Alt Eilean òige mo ghràidh 's tu tha tàladh mo chridh'
'S mi seòladh bhon Obain gu eilean bòidheach Thiridh,
Bi mi glacadh air oidhche gach mais a tha 'gam dhith
'S bi mi fhìn air ais a-rithist 'san Eilean Dorcha.

2 Gaoth na mara cho séimh séideach reidh staigh don bhaigh
Far bheil sruth dol don chuan clann suaimhneach le'n gàir',
Air an traigh gheal mar airgead bi mi falbh oirr' gach là
'S bi mi fhìn air ais a-rithist 'san Eilean Dorcha.

3 Fior àilleagan e measg gach cearn 'san taobh siar
Anns a mhoch mhaduinn thràth 's e ri dearrsadh 'sa ghrian:
Eòin na mara ri seinn 'sa toirt sòlas dom' chridh'
'S iad ag itealachd gu h-àrd 'san Eilean Dorcha.

Mo rùn geal dìleas, dìleas, dìleas
Mo rùn geal dìleas nach till thu 'nall
Cha till mi fhein leat, a ghaoil, cha'n fhaod mi,
'S ann tha mo ghaol-sa na laidhe tinn.

Is truagh nach robh mi an riochd na faoilinn
A snàmhadh aotrom air bhàrr nan tonn;
Is bheirinn sgrìobag do'n eilean Ileach,
Far bheil an rìbhinn dh'fhàg m'inntinn trom.

Is truagh nach robh mi 's mo rogha cèile
Air mullach shlèibhte nam beanntan mòr,
'S gun bhi 'gar n-éisdeachd ach eoin na slèibhe,
'S gun tugainn fhéin di na ceudan pòg.

Thug mi corr agus naoi mìosan
Anns na h-Innsean a b'fhaide thall,
'S bean bòichead t'aodainn cha robh ri fhaotainn,
'S ged gheibhinn saoghal cha'n fhanainn ann.

Thug mi mìos ann am fiabhrus claoidhte
Gun dùil rium oidhche gu'm bithinn beò;
B'e fàth mo smaointean a là 's a dh'oidhche,
Gu'm faighinn faochadh 'us tu bhi 'm chòir.

Cha bhi mi strìth ris a' chraoibh nach lùb leam
Ged chinneadh ùbhlan air bhàrr gach gèig,
Mo shoraidh slàn leat ma rinn thu m'fhagail,
Cha d'thàinig tràigh gun mhuir làn 'na dèigh.

Words by Maclean
Torlosk, Mull.


My faithful fair darling,
My faithful fair darling, won't you turn back to me;
I will not turn with you, my love, I cannot
For my beloved is lying ill.

I grieve I am not in the guise of a seagull,
Swimming light on top of the waves;
And I would journey to the island of Islay
Where tarries the maiden who vexes my soul.

I regret I am not with my own chosen mate,
On the mountaintop moorland
And no one to listen but the birds of the heath;
And hundreds of kisses I would give to her.

I took more than nine months
In the Indies so distant,
Where a woman whose beauty like yours was unseen
And for all this world I would not stay there.

I spent a month in the torment of fever
When each night I did not expect to survive;
The object of my thoughts each day and night
That my request be granted and you at my side.

I will not struggle with the tree I can't bend,
Though each bough be amply laden with apples;
My fond farewell to you if you have left me,
The sea never ebbs, but follows the flow.

Lyrics: English Translation:

Ho rò mo nighean donn bhòidheach Ho ro my beautiful brown-haired maiden
Hi rì mo nighean donn bhòidheach Hi ri my beautiful brown-haired maiden
Mo chaileag laghach bhòidheach My kind, beautiful maiden
Cha phòsainn ach thu I would not marry anyone but you

A nighean donn nam blàth-shùl Oh brown-haired maiden of the warm eyes
Gur trom a thug mi gràdh dhut I loved you deeply
Tha d'iomhaigh, ghaoil, is d'àilleachd Your appearance, dear, and your beauty
A ghnàth tigh'nn fom ùidh Always come into my mind

Cha cheil mi air an t-saoghal I shall not conceal from the world
Gu bheil mo mhiann 's mo ghaol ort That you are my desire and that I love you
'S ged chaidh mi uat air faondradh And though I strayed from you
Cha chaochail mo rùn My love will not change

Ach nuair a thig an samhradh But when the sumer comes
Bheir mise sgrìob don ghleann ud I shall make a trip to that glen
'S gun tog mi leam don Ghalldachd And I shall take with me to the Lowlands
Gu h-annsail am flùr Lovingly, the flower

Ho rò mo nighean donn bhòidheach Ho ro my beautiful brown-haired maiden
Hi rì mo nighean donn bhòidheach Hi ri my beautiful brown-haired maiden
Mo chaileag laghach bhòidheach My kind, beautiful maiden
Cha phòsainn ach thu I would not marry anyone but you

Professor Blackie translated one verse like this:

I'll fetch my nut brown maiden
Afrae the bonnie glen....


Sèist: Chorus (after each verse):
O chì, chì mi na mórbheanna Oh I see, I see the great mountains
O chì, chì mi na córrbheanna Oh I see, I see the lofty mountains
O chì, chì mi na coireachan Oh I see, I see the corries
Chì mi na sgoran fo chèo I see the peaks under the mist

Chì mi gun dàil an t-àite 's an d'rugadh mi I see right away the place of my birth
Cuirear orm fàilt' 's a' chànain a thuigeas mi I will be welcomed in a language which I understand
Gheibh mi ann aoidh agus gràdh 'n uair ruigeam I will receive hospitality and love when I reach there
Nach reicinn air thunnaichean òir That I would not trade for tons of gold

Chì mi ann coilltean, chì mi ann doireachan I see woods there, I see thickets
Chì mi ann maghan bàna is toraiche I see fair, fertile lands there
Chì mi na féidh air làr nan coireachan I see the deer on the ground of the corries
Falaicht' an trusgan de chèo Shrouded in a garment of mist

Beanntaichean àrda is àillidh leacainnean High mountains with lovely slopes
Sluagh ann an còmhnuidh is còire cleachdainnean Folk abiding there who are customarily kind
'S aotrom mo cheum a' leum g'am faicinn Light is my step when I go bounding to see them
Is fanaidh mi tacan le deòin And I will remain there a while willingly

HERE's a very happy convivial ballad well done by the Rankins:

"Tis he the gillie (lad)of aroon (love) who raises up my spirit
In this gold year he brings me solace
Aye, 'tis the gillie (lad) aroon (love) who raises up our spirt!

When I lay my face to sleep,
Sleepless I am on New Year's Eve and I don't like it

I hear the lovely songs and lovely chatter

'S e gillean mo ruin a thogadh mo sunnd,
'S i so a' Bhliadhn' Or thug solas dhuinn:
'S e gillean mo ruin a thogadh oirnn sunnd.

Air m'uilinn 's an leabaidh an am dol a chadal,
Gun d'fhairich mi Challuinn 's gun chord i rium.

Chualas na duain am briathran nam buadh,
"Thoir botul a nuas 's an toisich sinn".

'S e gillean mo ghraidh a thainig o'n bhlar,
Le'n cotaichean sgarlaid 's boidheach iad.

S e gillean mo chridhe a sheinneadh an fhidheall,
Bu mhiann le clann-nighean bhi comhla riuth'.

'S i fidheall nan teud a sheinneadh gu reidh,
'S gun cuireadh i ceud an ordugh dhuinn.

'S aighearrach mi o'n rinneadh an t-sith,
'S mo bheannachd do'n Righ thug forladh dhuinn.

THIS WAS A FAVORITE SONG OF JOHN MACCORMACK and he sang it in translation but never mastered the Gaelic version something he sincerely regreted.

Na cheithre Úna, na cheithre Áine The four Unas, the four Annies
Na cheithre Máire 's na cheithre Nóra The four Marys and the four Noras
Na cheithre mná a ba cheithre breátha The four women that were the four finest
I gceithre cearda na Fódhla In the four corners of Ireland
Na cheithre tairní 'a chuaigh sna cheithre clára The four nails in the four boards
Na cheithre clárachaí cónra The four boards of a coffin
Ach na cheithre gráin ar na cheithre mná But the four hates on the four women
Nach dtugann na cheithre grá do na ceithre póga Who do not give the four loves four kisses

A Úna Bhán, ba rós i ngáirdín thú Fair Una, you were like a rose in a garden
Ba choinnleoir óir ar bhord na banríona thú A gold candlestick on the queen's table
Ba cheiliúr is ba cheolmar ag gabháil an bhealaigh seo romham thú So sweet and melodious you moved on the path before me
Ach sé mo chreach mhaidne bhrónach nár pósadh liom thú But it's my terrible loss that you did not marry me

'Sé mo leán géar gan mé mo phréachán dubh ___
Go dtugainn an léim úd suas ar leataobh na chnoic ___
Mo gha ghréine mar phréamh mé ag casadh faoi shruth ___
'S mo ghrá féin ar gach taobh díom ag castáil dhom ___

Tá an sneachta ar lár agus barr air chomh dearg le fuil The snow on the ground is as red as blood
Samhail mo ghrá ní théann i mbealach ar bith No sight of my love I see anywhere
Ach féach í, a mhná... "Cén t-óchón sin ort?" Women, don't you see... Why the cause of your lamentation?
"Ach an t-aon ghlaoch amháin ag Áth na Donóige" The only one call at Donoge Ford

A Úna Bhán nach gránna an luí atá ort Fair Una, it's terrible the way you are lying now
Do cheann le fána i measc na mílte corp Your head sloping amongst a thousand corpses
Ach mar a dtuga tú fóir orm a phlandóg a bhí riamh gan locht But if you don't come and rescue me, my dear one without fault
Ní thoicfaidh mise 'un t'áras go brách ach an oíche anocht I will not come to your residence ever again, but tonight

Sung by Dolores Keane from Caherlestrane, County Galway.. Beautiful Scottish Love Song composed by a great Scots Poet Dougie MacLean:

"I don't know if you can see
The changes that have come over me
In these last few days I've been afraid
That I might drift away
So I've been telling old stories, singing songs
That make me think about where I came from
And that's the reason why I seem
So far away today

Oh, but let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you're calling me
And now I'm going home
If I should become a stranger
You know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia's been everything
I've ever had

Now I have moved and I've kept on moving
Proved the points that I needed proving
Lost the friends that I needed losing
Found others on the way
I have kissed the ladies and left them crying
Stolen dreams, yes there's no denying
I have traveled hard with coattails flying
Somewhere in the wind

Now I'm sitting here before the fire
The empty room, the forest choir
The flames that could not get any higher
They've withered now they've gone
But I'm steady thinking my way is clear
And I know what I will do tomorrow
When the hands are shaken and the kisses flow
Then I will disappear."