Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Every year on March 17, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart around the world observe St. Patrick’s Day. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green. For those of you who don’t know, Saint Patrick lived during the fifth century and is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. He was born in Roman Britain, kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. In the centuries following Patrick’s death (believed to have been on March 17, 461), the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture: Perhaps the most well-known legend is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.
For a relatively small country, Ireland has made a huge contribution to world literature. Irish poetry has a long and complex history. Two of my favorite Irish poets are William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) and Oscar Wilde (1854-1900). I’d like to share with you a poem by Yeats, a few acerbic quotes from Oscar Wilde and my favorite Irish blessing. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
“When You are Old”
By William Butler Yeats
When you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
Memorable Oscar Wilde quotations:
- A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.
- Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
- Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.
Traditional Irish Blessing (and Toast)
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his Hand.