Just a small, cryptic personal burst of a post today:
I have been slower than I would like writing and responding here, partly because a third book appears to be erupting in me. (After the first two, I have spoken of here.)
It is far too soon to say anything definite about my emerging manuscript. Still, I can venture a little hint …
I am haunted, haunted by the ghosts of Patrick Pearse and Éamon de Valera.
Pearse and de Valera, of course, were two of the rebel leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin which led to Irish independence in 1922.
It was by all accounts a hopeless rising. Pearse and de Valera knew they stood no hope against the mighty British Empire. Within a week they were rounded up. Pearse and the other rebel leaders were immediately executed by the British – as they fully realised they would be – thereby becoming martyrs in the process.
Mysteriously, however, de Valera, alone, was spared and went on to become a ‘founding father’ of the Irish Republic, spending thirty four years as either prime minister or president of Eire.
What compelled them to this self-immolation? It is a huge, complex matter we cannot adequately address in a cryptic little burst like this …
However, I have been struck by Desmond Ryan writing Pearse was concerned that:
The [Irish] people had lost their souls and were being vulgarised, commercialised, anxious only to imitate the material prosperity of England.
Indeed, that seems to have been a main disquietude for the Irish revolutionaries. They were concerned that the soul of Ireland was being slowly extinguished by British government, British capitalism and British education and that the only way to save her was a ‘mad, hopeless’ insurrection.
But, for several decades, it seems their ‘mad, hopeless’ insurrection actually succeeded. Despite their deaths, an Irish Republic was born in which their Gaelic and Catholic values were cherished and protected.
Again, for several decades…
Well, as I write my third book, I cannot help but see the ghost of Patrick Pearse before me.
And he is listening to raucous rock and roll that he could never have imagined in a thousand years.
The refrain of this racket which repels him, however, seems terribly apropos to all his fears of materialism in 1916.
It is Bachmann Turner Overdrive singing: ‘You Ain’t See Nothin’ Yet!’
And Patrick Pearse is weeping, weeping, weeping … weeping for the soul of Ireland. For indeed, he had seen ‘nothing yet’, at least compared to Ireland today.
In my own way, I am weeping with him. And my new manuscript is being born of my tears.