THE VILLAGE SINGS
Poems by Gabriel Fitzmaurice
Gabriel Fitzmaurice’s lyrics are our best passport to the small, evocative Irish towns and villages he knows so well. Celebrating romantic love and the love of children, the rigorous activities of earning one’s daily bread, and the fabled endurance of the people of rural Ireland, these lively and at times amusing verses bring to life the people of the West, their rich chatter and inspiring dreams. As these poems point out, although Ireland is a country in the midst of great cultural and economic sea changes, its deeply rooted, traditional spirit still breathes fire.
“Gabriel Fitzmaurice is unafraid to tackle the ordinary, everyday things in life, things which matter and, as he says, seem ‘insufficient till they’re sung’, and to suffuse them with an ‘old fashioned’ sense of piety. A village poet, you might say, but like all true writers he is not afraid of opinions either, and the simplest-sounding ballad bears thoughts that lie too deep for sneers. ‘Art discovers symmetries where politics must wait’. Always a teacher, never a pedant, he works as a middleman between appearance and reality, between the old and the young, and between the Irish language and the English.”
“Gabriel Fitzmaurice has the rare gift of being able to talk to the world at large in a language entirely intelligible to a local society. He is the living, writing proof of Kavanagh’s view that all that is enduring and unprovincial comes from the parish. These poems win you first with their musician’s metric skills; but they stay with you as something with profound authenticity.”
“I’ll be your friend forever”
Means it’s time to part;
She thinks she means ‘forever’ -
She hasn’t got the heart
To spell it out quite plainly
That she wants his love no more,
That she finds his kisses sloppy,
His company a bore.
He doesn’t want this friendship -
He needs her all the way,
For love of her, he turns a cur,
He’ll lie and he’ll betray
Everyone who loves him
For love of what’s refused,
And every song is of his wrong
When he’s wallowing in booze.
He thinks he loves her: he does not -
His love of self is great
(This is what he sees in her);
Without her, much self-hate . . .
THE VILLAGE SINGS
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: Sean nÓs Singer by Bob O’Cathail, Ballintlea, Ventry, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Cover Design: Chiquita Babb
Publication: 1996 (82 pages laminated paperback)