It’s St Patrick’s Day but still morning so I positively haven’t allowed any alcohol to pass my lips; yet here I am in tears. (Note: a Scottish meaning of the word ‘greeting’)
And why you may ask – what’s wrong with you man?
Well I’ve just listened to a rendition of Danny Boy by a four-year old child. Yes, I did say four years old. She’s called Emma Sophia Ryan. Currently I don’t have the facility on this site to show video but presume you can get it by searching YouTube.
So, why is this silly old fool weeping while listening to a tiny child singing a sentimental song that he’s heard a thousand times before?
Sure, there’s the fact that it’s a touching thing to hear an immature voice stretching to render the tones and meaning of a love song. Sure, there’s something about the purity and innocence of it all.
However, in my case, there’s another layer to this, which is hearing a song anew and in that sense hearing it properly for the first time. Until listening to little Emma Sophia’s version this morning, I had not fully absorbed the words and meaning of the final verse. And that’s what got the tears flowing.
‘You’ll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an “Ave” there for me.
But I shall hear, though soft you tread above me,
And all my grave shall warmer, sweeter be.
And you will bend and tell me that you love me;
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me.‘
Undoubtedly there will be cynics who’ll consider me a fool to say this, but this has renewed my belief that visiting the resting place of the love of your life and telling that person you still love her/him does have a point.
And even if you don’t believe it’s possible to bring comfort to the deceased by this means, I can assure you there is comfort in this action for the one left behind. Time is not linear and any moment is a good moment to tell someone you love them.
Today’s experience also confirms that contained within the constraints of this buttoned-up Scot there can be found the emotions of my Irish heritage.
With that admission it remains only for me to wish all of you reading this, Irish blood or not, cynic or not, a very Happy St Patrick’s Day. (Note: the more generally accepted meaning of the word “greeting’)
… off now to read some Yeats, Heaney, Joyce…