Saturday, July 25, 2020

John Doyle writes

Migratory Birds Going Home to Africa

The radio was shouting at you, pleading with you...
David Byrne

Vaguely orange with offerings of brown,
such a rusted sky - 

vapor-trails like Nuada's veins.
On the radio tonight I pretend it's Carl Corcoran

whom I've missed like an Uncle gone to war.
Carl plays Heartland Rock, Carl plays Afrobeat,

I remind myself every April, as this requiem is due-
about now - all these birds who fly southerly, 

marmalade-burned sundown, grass still brown.
It's five inches-high at our crossroads -

three local streams meeting like Uncles returned from war,
and I smell the farm and primary river

they flow to, sometimes - summer maybe, but usually April,
birds' whooshing chatter that plays Heartland Rock

on the radio, now that Africa is leaving.
Hey there Carl, tell me

if anyone is listening anymore,
on a transistor radio in a tent, something orange flashes overhead…?


  1. Nuada Airgetlám (Naada "Silver Arm") was the 1st king of the Tuatha Dé Danann ("the folk of the goddess Danu"). They were descended from Nemed, the leader of a previous wave of inhabitants of Ireland, and came from 4 cities to the north, where they taught their skills in the sciences, including architecture, the arts, and magic, including necromancy. At Maige Tuired (Maighe Tuireadh) in the territory of Conmhaícne Cúile Tuireadh near Cong, County MayoConnacht, Connacht, Nuada led them against the Fir Bolg, the 4th group to settle in Ireland; descended from the Muintir Nemid, the 3rd group of Irish settlers, who had abandoned the island after their defeat by the Fomóire (monstrous gods of chaos, darkness, death, blight, and drought), went to different parts of Europe, and eventually returned to Ireland. During the battle Sreng severed Nuada's arm. However, though the Fir Bolg were on the verge of defeat, Nuada allowed them to rule over 1/5 of Ireland. Brigid, the goddess of spring, fertility, healing, poetry, and smithcraft, had told the Tuatha Dé Danann that no one with a blemish could rule them, so the Tuatha Dé Danann chose Bres, the son of Ériu (Éire, the eponymous goddess of Ireland) who had married king Elatha (Ealadha) of the Fomóire. After 7 years of tyrannical rule Bres was replaced by Nuada, whose arm had been replaced by a silver one made by Dian Cecht, the god of physicians. Dian Cecht's son Miach improved on his father's work by causing flesh to grow over the silver prosthesis. Balor, the Fomóire king of the Hebrides, a giant with a large eye that wreaked destruction when opened, agreed to restore Bres. Nuada made Lugh (Lu), the god of light and inspiration, who was the grandson of both Dian Cecht and Balor and the foster son of Manannán mac Lir ("son of the sea," the 1st ancestor of mankind and the god of the dead) the commander of his forces at the 2nd battle of Maige Tuired, near Lough Arrow in County Sligo. Balor slew Nuada but was killed in turn by Lugh. Four soldiers were able to pry open Balor's eyelid and Lugh's sling hurled a stone into it; the stone smashed through the back of Balor's head, and the eye's power slew many Fomóire warriors, thus winning the battle. Bres was spared on condition that he teach the Tuatha Dé Danann how to plow, sow, and reap. Lugh Samildánach ("equally skilled in many arts") then became king and became associated with oaths, truth, the law, and therefore with rightful kingship.

  2. Irish singer/songwriter Carl Corcoran began recording in the 1970s as "Jamie Stone," making 3 albums for EMI. His 1st album "New Day" gathered 6 awards at the RMI Awards in 1974, including Artist of The Year, and his songs "Gulliver" (1974) and "I Believe In Love"(1976) topped the Irish music charts.
    He moved to New York in 1978 and spent 20 years there, involved in songwriting, publishing, management, and performance, and hosting "A Drop of the Irish" on WTBQ in Warwick, New York before returning to Ireland in 1998; and hosted "Blue of the Night" and "The Lyric Breakfast" on Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTE). After retiring in 2017 he became Course Director of a Masters Degree in Songwriting at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in the University of Limerick. In the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attack in New York he co-wrote with Jimmy Kelly "I Won't Turn My Back On You," which was recorded by the New York Tenors, and Ronan Tynan, one of the original Irish Tenors, also performed it; Corcoran sang "The Phoenix," which he co-wrote with Art McGann, for the documentary film, "The Irish of 911."


Join the conversation! What is your reaction to the post?