Songs and Sayings

The Silent Fiddle
A poem in remembrance of Johnny Cunningham,
died December 15, 2003

He blazed across the heavens like a meteor
Whilst we earth-bound mortals gazed in wonder.
His flight on the swift wings of an ancient tune
Now bears his soul to the great hall of his forebears.
Majestic is the legacy of this man of mischievous might
Fierce his renown - a champion never bested.
I knew him when he was but a child
And watched that child become a man
Yet in that man a child remain.
To play, to play, always to play. A bow seldom still.
Those who loved him are legion, enjoined for now in one distress
Reaching across the globe, lover to lover, friend to friend.
Time is now for the fiddle to lie silent
The raised glass and merry jibe will come soon enough.
Many tongues shall sing the lament - the song of passing 
The flowers of the forest are a' weed away.
And we shall tell stories of how he lived, laughed and loved
And he shall live on, forever the impish youth in the warmth of our imaginings.
Those who seed the earth with such splendor can never die. 
It's always springtime somewhere.
Take your ease, Johnny - have one on me.
Lessened we are for you passing, but ennobled we remain
Able to smile and say, "You were my friend."

le grá Seanín

The Errant Apprentice
A humorous tale about a young Irishman who falls in love for all the right reasons, but is played falsely by his woman and ultimately decides that the single life is best.

The End of the Empire
New words for an old song, this one again makes creative use of language to drive home a clear point about the British Empire.

Not A Star from the Flag Shall Fade
The marching song of the Peadar O' Donnell Irish Brigade, Nicaragua 1987-1991

Of Letterman and Betterman
In times gone by, bards and minstrels were the voices of the working people, satirizing and chastising the nobility through song and poetry.  It's still true today, you can see.

For Kathy
A poem in Lalland Scots for my dear friend Kathy Stewart. 

The Bones of St. Nicholas
An old legend tells that Irish monks removed the relics of St. Nicholas from his shrine in Demre, Turkey to prevent them falling into the hands of the invading heathen hordes. So like many others (St. Valentine is buried in Dublin) Saint Nick became a Paddy!

AN CRAOBH EOLAS (Tree of Knowledge)
A poem for my wife Katie, written in Scots Gaelic

Dickens in Dublin
This poem/song was commissioned by Patrick O'Donnell of the Titanic Theater Company for his play  concerning Charles Dickens' forays into Victorian Dublin.  (It can be sung to the tune " The Night Before Larry Was Stretched")

Paddy's Trip to Hell
Another song commissioned by Pat O' Donnell, this for his 1996 production of Flann O'Brien's surrealistic play, THE THIRD POLICEMAN. 

Farewell to Ballyshanny
I wrote this song based on an Irish old poem called, 'The Winding Banks of Erne', by William Allingham (1824-1889)  It features on Sean O' Driscoll's CD: "Sticking Out A Mile From Blarney"

Some of Bill's favorite Celtic sayings