Monday, September 19, 2011

On Raglan Road

We are fortunate in living across from our town's high school, a school so known for its music and scholastic achievements that families move to our town so their children may have the benefit of a superior public education. Then, as the sons and daughters go off to college, the adults return to their homes, often in other countries.

The marching band practices at least twice a week, that we hear, beginning well before the start of the fall semester. Before football games they smooth out any imperfections in their best numbers. As the team is the Tigers, I'll let you guess what spirited song is their rallying tune.

This Saturday morning, as we could hear a soccer game in the background, the sound of a single bagpipe - something new - floated to us between apartment buildings. Then it was joined by others and my son, who can stretch himself to see the campus better than I, reported a group in full regalia. They did not need warming up for very long and I forget, at this moment, their first selection.

Ah, but the second, easily recognized and unforgettable, was On Raglan Road, based on the poem by Patrick Kavanaugh, the source material introduced by a dear friend for whom Monday is not going as might be hoped. With her in heart and mind, I offer two versions of the work. While its gist expresses loss, the beauty of the poem and the music it became are worth holding close. (My blog format cuts off some of the lines on the spoken-word video. I don't know how to change that.)



12 comments:

JeannetteLS said...

wonderful! And it hits a deep, deep part of my heart this beautiful Monday afternoon.

beth coyote said...

O Van, loved him since I was 16....

Timothy Cahill said...

Ah, grand! I was introduced to the poems of Kavanagh through Van's version of "Raglan Road" half a lifetime ago. The tune is "The Dawning of the Day," as Kavanagh himself noted in the printed version beneath the title. (Interested parties may hear John McCormack sing the original here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtAXRTGX3ss) I'm sure I couldn't say which of the versions I like more; the original is distinctly more jaded, that describing the disillusioned romantic that was the poet himself, and sometimes more fits the called-for mood. But the underlying faith in, if not love, then song, that Van brings to the poem never fails to move me, as does his reinterpretation of stanza three. In both versions, the last couplet is utterly devastating and beautiful.

T. Clear said...

Marylinn, we have this strange synchronicity going on with music -- I just posted the same Van Morrison video on facebook and listened to it numerous times on the Van Morrison & The Chieftans CD....

Marylinn Kelly said...

Jeanette - Hard to think of a moment when this would not reach us. Hope Wednesday is beautiful as well. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Beth - The truly hopeless aspect of my infatuation started when I was a bit older...the MOONDANCE and ASTRAL WEEKS era. I have been lost ever since. I suppose an all-Van-Morrison-all-the-time blog would not be the worst thing...xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Timothy - Thank you for the link to John McCormack and the comments there. I knew the song first as well, cheered quietly when it was used in IN BRUGES. Since this post, the words and tune are playing in my mind when I wake up, a mark of the haunting and enduring. I am happy to have your thoughts on the poem and music.

Marylinn Kelly said...

T. - So maybe it is not just MY brain where the song is currently playing. We do seem to have an affinity...perhaps we are twins in some version of life...are you, by any chance, an Aquarius? I shall hie myself over to YouTube for more Chieftans and Van the Man. xo

T. Clear said...

Marylinn, Scorpio brain here.

Jayne said...

So glad I came back to this, Marylinn--the words and the music. Wonderful. :)

Marylinn Kelly said...

T. - Well, there is affinity...my son and his father and close friends of the Scorpio persuasion. So many variables as to why our thoughts synchronize, I'm just happy when they do. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Jayne - Isn't it a haunting piece, even more when one knows the back story? And the instruments of Celtic music find their way under the skin. xo