Thursday, July 26, 2012

Take me Back Home to Kiltartan

Take me back, take me back to Kiltartan
Take me back through the Celtic Mist;
Let's slip past the Aosdána warden
And the anti-romanticist.
Let's hope that the Salley Gardens
Is one place the bulldozers missed;
Take me back, take me back to Kiltartan
Where all our grandparents first kissed.

I've heard all the charges against it
Five thousand and seventy times;
I've watched the postmodernist's lancet
Dissect its pre-pluralist rhymes;
But I think I'm still going to chance it
So sue me for Paddywhack crimes;
Take me back, take me back to Kiltartan
In search of more bearable climes.

Oh, take me back home to Kiltartan;
Perhaps it was never more real
Than Atlantis or Eden or Arden;
But this Ireland is ghostlier still.
I can actually feel my heart harden
As I hear their post-everything spiel.
So take me back home to Kiltartan
Before I forget how to feel.


Kiltartan = a part of Galway in which lived Lady Gregory, one of the foremost figure of the Irish Literary Revival. The dialect in which she wrote her plays, based on her perception of how the locals spoke, is often called Kiltartanese or Kiltartan English. The Irish Literary Revival is hated with a passion by the Irish literary establishment, since people actually liked to read their books.

Aosdána = an Irish association of artists. Their main mission is to guard against a second Irish Literary Revival, or any outbreak of folksy romanticism amongst highbrows.

The Salley Gardens = the setting of a Yeats poem, based on a folk song. The sort of place where lovers go to be young and foolish and (eventually) full of tears.

Paddywhack = a back-formation of Paddywhackery, which is the cultivation of stage-Irishness, or plastic Paddy syndrome. Patrick Kavanagh's term for plastic Paddy was "bucklepper". In reality, "paddywhackery" is the name given to any romantic evocation of Irishness whatsoever, the modern Irish artist and literary type preferring to meditate on suburbs, pop culture, drug addicts, sado-masochistic sex and academic conferences.

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