Monday, February 18, 2008

O' slightly more Aisterly speculation....

Some weeks ago I had an E-mail conversation with Alan McKinney that led me to find something in the Griffith's Valuation data. For those of you who don't know: between 1848 and 1864, all land was surveyed for the purpose of establishing the level of rates (local tax) to be paid by each landholder or leaseholder. It was later used as a means to help support and feed the poor in Ireland during the famine. If you earned more than 3lbs per year, which was later raised to 5lbs per year you were assessed a tax based upon this data.

Most of the Census data was lost when The Public Record Office in Dublin's Four Courts building complex was destroyed on June 29, 1922 during the Irish Civil War. Among the irreplaceable documents were the census schedules of 1821 through 1851, wills and administrations as well as almost a thousand Church of Ireland parish registers. Although some few fragments of these records did survive the fire, for genealogists their destruction is a great loss of data needed to construct relationships with their ancestors it was a genealogical tragedy and wall we run up against that stops the average researcher in their tracks. The rest of us have learned the hard way to rely on other sources. Tithe Books, Freeholder Polling Lists, The Griffith's Valuation Data, Etc.

What I found in the Griffith Valuation data intrigued me. I have been able to determine from the Griffith's Data that Alexander Gilmour/Gilmore did in fact live at the Killaloo Glebe. BUT I also found that an Alexander Gilmore lived at Mettican Glebe near Coleraine. There is also listed a Jane Gilmore too. There is however, no concrete proof to indicate that this is my Alexander, or even perhaps as I suspect his Father. The Glynn/Glenn family can also be found in this area in the data.

Now, My Great Great Great Grandfather Robert Gilmour's wife Mary Pollock emigrated from the Portrush/Coleraine area in 1846 at age 11. As a somewhat seasoned genealogical researcher I have come to realize that further research at a later date may very well prove what I am about to speculate to be proved as untrue. Yeah, but, the writer and novelist in me can't help but let my unbridled imagination run wild.

So here I go: It is possible, although unprovable at this point, that Robert, either visiting a Grandparent, or living there as a child if this Alexander was in fact his father, might have known his future wife Mary as a "childhood sweetheart" or playmate. AWW MUSH!

Yep! here it comes... Back story to the novel O' Wasterly Gale© possible inclusion more than likely, and in Ullans dialect:

Summer, 1846,

On the beach at Portrush, Northern Ireland.

Mary watched the sand squish between her toes.

"Doo ye think tha trip wil bae lang?"

"It's a weill-kent fact the say."

She lifted her foot, and pressed down again in a new spot.

"Ye'll gae ta Killaloo thon?"

"Aye, Mae Fathar weil moove frea this Glebe tae thon."

"Yae'll bae neer yer kin as weel."


Robert squished his foot into the place in the sand where Mary's foot had been.

"Ay'll miss yea ye kno…"


"Doo yea think yea'll 'member mea yince Ay'm gaen?"

"Shure an Ay weill, yer me ain dear pet yea kno…"

Mary pressed her foot gently down over Robert's and into the sand. A wave washed into the shore and swirled around their ankles.

~ ~ ~

Sorry, I just couldn't resist.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Canticle of the sick and convalescing.

This beautiful photograph by Alan McKinney of his Beehives at Killaloo Glebe which has been on my desktop since he sent me the link to it, inspired at least some of the creation of this poem. Being home while sick on a snowy day and reading "Bog Myrtle and Peat" by S.R.Crockett in bed added to it as well. One of my favorite early morning hymns did the rest while roaming around my stuffed up head. Of it's meaning I am not yet sure. Perhaps when my head clears, the snow and ice melt and the birds of spring eventually arrive, the meaning will avail itself. Until then I'm taking the phone off the hook. I need some rest. Having written this out of my head, and taken some cold medicine, I should be able to get some sleep.

When from the heart we say:


when the waking bird does sing

immortal hymns fiercely tender

yearning yet unsatisfying

sweet in the mouth

but bitter in the belly

the dramas of life

express themselves

in endless words


I hear the hot thrill

of hopes mysterious

wild thoughts

that quicken within me

like rosy fingers of Dawn

melting into broad day


even as I rise

and move to the window

I grasp a hint of plot

know the thread of my story

every word of it in open air

outside for all to see.


I wake before the bird

in the gloaming

wait expectantly

with careless wonder

gladly then, might I remember

immortal hymns of deathless fame

that make the waking bird sing

in the silent, stirless, windless night


the vision softly fades

as I return to slumber

listening to the scraping drone

of a snowplow

sick abed I dream of a bird

waking to sing with words


as the waking bird does sing

I hear soft murmurs

of daily conversation

when the cock crows

in the imagination of my heart

and the universe falls silent.


my blood is young

and red again

running through

misty fields

of romance languages

unspoken and unlearned

yet sung in light of day

by bird from forest edge


I would know the hot thrill

of hopes mysterious

and feel rosy fingers

of rapturous Dawn

its dulcet refrain

of sunlight behind them


I will know a joke

the little boy never understood

but I will only be sleeping

to dreams of a waking bird singing

immortal hymns fiercely tender

yet pure and entertaining.


perhaps the waking bird will sing

my yearning satisfied

the taste in my mouth

easy on the ear

my belly satiated

by sanguine farewell glimpse of eternity

as I slumber in a windowseat of dreams


when all is quiet

I hear my father's voice

and squeal with delight

as he throws me up ashoulder

holding on tightly we climb uphill

out of the cool dark wood.


I will carry my grandchild

as my father before

and pass on after a kind

good things gathered

from shores of memory

far across the sea of life


like beehives covered in snow

I will sit motionless and pray

consciously waiting for spring

to the sound of a waking bird

singing of Ireland long ago

I shall see the land clearly

so well it comes alive

in the minds eye of my future


endless words must be abandoned

when they fall like rain over snow

turning to ice encrusted, gleaming

while the bird flies back

to sing of waking

in the present


my prayers answered

I will raise my voice to God

"when morning gilds the sky"

then I like waking bird will sing

the canticle divine

when night becomes today.



My understanding of a Canticle being a chant of biblical or religious origin; that is how I came to label this poem as such. The 9-7-7 format is strictly of my own design. At one point each verse began with the word "Sometimes". I changed it to show progression of from.

The original was much longer and melodic in nature. The act of editing, cropping and tightening up unfortunately removed some of its flavor. This happens sometimes. I am not yet satisfied with it as a finished piece. I see it being paired down at a later date using only the most successful verses. A sequel may even be a possibility when I actually go to Killaloo.