The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

poem and parody

This week's poem is in fact a song called The Gypsy Rover but it has plenty of poetry in it. It was written by Leo Maguire and has been recorded by dozens of artists from Joe Lynch in 1950 (four decades before the same Joe Lynch inflicted the character Dinny upon Ireland in the television manure opera Glenroe) and afterwards by the Clancy Brothers, Foster And Allen, Elton Hayes, a very famous group called The Highwaymen and a slightly lesser known group called The Wiggles, among countless others. I expect my own parodaic version which is printed below the original, will probably attract just as many artists wishing to record it. By the way, there are other claimants to the authorship of this song but Leo Maguire copyrighted it in 1950. I've been told the story and air is found in the songs sung by Irish tinkers at the fireside over hundreds of years and has also surfaced in folk songs in America which were apparently influenced by Irish culture. Leo Maguire presented a radio programme for RTE over many years but he is perhaps more well known for having taught me English for three days in 1973 while he was a substitute teacher at Terenure College. I kid you not. I remember Mr Maguire as an elderly dignified man with a shock of white hair and an unholy scream. What was particularly terrifying about him, was the smooth transition from dignity to screaming, and then his near cosmic incoherency thereafter. The kids in the class were about seven years old. Each morning he would get us individually to read out passages from our English book. Then for no apparent reason he would cut loose screaming at a kid who to all intents and purposes was reading better than the rest of us had. Mr Maguire would scream something that sounded like: "Thee, thee, thee." His face would turn red then purple. He would gesture wildly. It was most quaint. And honest to goodness, it kept happening for the three days he was our substitute teacher without any of us knowing what the hell was going on. Back home on Main Street Tallaght, my brother Peter asked me what was it like being taught by Mr Maguire. His exact words were: "Did he shout thee at you?" Eventually after much pleading the brother explained that Mr Maguire believed the word "the" should be pronounced "thee" if it came before a vowel. Well why didn't the daft ha'aporth just say that then! Anyhoo. Nuts or not, Leo Maguire also wrote the Dublin Saunter which is also a song with plenty of poetry in it, the most famous version of which became a rather good ad for Murphy's Beer. That's two classics right there, more than most poets write. So let's forgive him the lunaception.

The Gypsy Rover
by Leo Maguire

The gypsy rover came over the hill
Down through the valley so shady.
He whistled and he sang till the green woods ran
And he won the heart of a lady.
She left her home, her castle great
She left her fair young lover
She left her servants and her estate
To follow the gypsy rover.
Her father saddled up his fastest steed,
Roamed the valleys all over,
Sought his daughter at great speed
And the whistling gypsy rover.
He came upon a mansion fine
Down by the river Claydee
And there was music and there was wine
For the gypsy and his lady.
"He is no gypsy, My Father," she said,
"But lord of these woods all over,
And I will stay till my dying day
With my whistling gypsy rover."
Fol dee doo fol dee doo rye aye
Fol dee doo rye dee ay ee
He whistled and he sang till the green woods rang
And he won the heart of a lady."


The Whistling Gypsy
by James Healy

the whistling gypsy came over the hill
down through the valley so shady
he whistled and he sang till the green woods rang
and he won the heart of a lady

"That is no gypsy father dear
but lord of these woods all over
and I will stay till my dying day
with my whistling gypsy rover"

"Alright Esmerelda if that's what you want
You run away with the gypsy
I'm giving your inheritance to your sister Griselda
And moving myself to Poughkipsie."

"Hold on a moment father dear
You really mustn't dash
I'm very very fond of my gypsy love
But I'm extraordinarily fond of your cash."

The whistling gypsy came over the hill
He was wearing barely a stitch
He whistled and he sang till the green woods rang
And he won the heart of a bi-i-i-i-itch.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

no truth in the rumour

There is absolutely no truth in the rumour that the reason airline pilots sound like inane radio DJ's when they talk to passengers over the intercom is because the airlines are now hiring inane radio DJ's as pilots in order to cut costs. No wait...

Monday, January 05, 2015

today they said

Madonna Ciccone (singer): "I believe in freedom, in the rights of individuals to be who they are, to say what they want and to do what they want."

James Healy: "So that's what you young people are calling pornography these days."

a little light relief

Two news stories over the Christmas period raised my spirits somewhat.
I gotta tell ya folks, it was a relief to find at least a couple of current events to potentially restore my faith in the wondrous mawkish gregariousness of human beings and in which, thankfully, no human beings were getting killed.
First we had Pope Francis tearing his Cardinals and Bishops a new one at a meeting in the Vatican.
The footage was priceless.
The Pope in his serious holier than thou Pope voice, was reading out a list of what he apparently considered home truths about his Cardinals and Bishops and he was doing it with the Cardinals and Bishops sitting right there in front of him.
I suppose I was so amused by the whole thing because I could imagine the Cardinals mouthing to each other "What the f---," as Francis droned on and on about their failings.
It's what I would have been saying.
Bear in mind I'm not personally invested in Francis as pap, because I believe he was installed in a coup d'etat.
If he turns out to be a good guy, I'll be thrilled. (And surprised) If he's a left wing infiltrator or something evil, well, you know the drill, told you so etc etc. Particularly etc etc.
The second story that warmed the cockles of my cerebellum over the Christmas, was the whole kerfuffle over North Korea supposedly hacking into the Sony Corporation's computers supposedly in a fit of picque over a supposedly less than respectful depiction of North Korea's dictator in a forthcoming Sony movie.
This seemed hilarious to me because for a start I never believed the North Koreans did it.
It seemed far more likely to me to be a bit of pre publicity concocted by Sony Corporation to drum up intererest in a hundred million dollar flop that no one was talking about.
Advance word of mouth for this movie didn't exist up until the moment the high octane allegation of international computer hacking was released.
Next minute President Obama was involved and cinemas were saying they wouldn't show the movie because they feared North Korean retaliation.
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, hoo, ha, hee hee, ha, ha, heeeeeeeeeeee.
Hoo baby.
Let me wipe my eyes for a minute.
Yes it was fun to revel in a few news stories for a while whose surrealism and just plain whatchamacallit weren't costing anyone their lives.
Thank you Pope France and thank you Sony Corporation.
May you continue in 2015 to contribute so fulsomely and harmlessly to the gaiety of nations.

jihad at sea

Two sea going cargo vessels sank today in Britain.
Of these one went down off Scotland with the presumed loss of eight crew members.
The other was deliberately run aground shortly after setting out in the Thames estuary, thankfully with no loss of life.
The Captain claims he beached the ship because it had inexplicably started to list and was about to capsize.
In the same twenty four hour period on the far side of the world, a cargo ship has sunk off the coast of Vietnam.
It is believed at least 13 of its 14 Filippino crew members have died.
The lone survivor is refusing to speak to his rescuers.
There's the first clue folks.
The simultaneous sinkings of cargo ships around the world today may not just be a Mafia insurance scam.
It may be Jihad.
A Jihadi on the crew could do it.
Or a Jihadi in the maintenance department on shore.
Or simply someone just paid by Jihadis to do it.
Be in no doubt.
It's being done.
Cf; The Christmas day passenger ferry going down off Greece.
Cf: The bin lorry running down six people in Glasgow on Christmas Eve. (The driver still isn't being named for some mysterious reason.)
Cf: The Christmas eve vehicular rammings of pedestrians at two separate locations in France, during which the drivers of both vehicles are reported to have screamed "Allah u akbar," as they deliberately steered their cars into groups of people on the streets.