Sunday, August 2, 2015

Brian Merriman

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In my schooldays most pupils would have recognised the six lines below from the Irish language poetry course. An eloquently expressed pastoral scene in keeping with the rural traditions of the Irish language.

The Irish language version is from Brian Merriman's original epic, Cúirt an Mheán Oíche, and the English version is a relatively free translation, The Midnight Court, by David Marcus.

As these six lines were virtually the only part of the poem we encountered, we thought of Merriman as a purely pastoral poet.

How utterly wrong we were.

Little did we realise that the rest of the poem was a diatribe against priestly, and other male, celibacy and an appeal to all recalcitrant males to let their hair down and satisfy the multitude of maidens queueing up to share their most intimate urges with these fine strapping examples of Irish manhood.

Can you imagine the Christian Brothers trying to take a class of sexually curious young lads through the lines below in my schooldays in the 1950s.

Never mind the lads, the brothers would have had to go straight into therapy after the class.

I was reminded of all this today when I read an interview with Paul Mason, economics editor at Channel 4 TV, in the course of which he recounted the story below, with which story I'll leave you.

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