Frank Corcoran

irish composer

ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST´S NATIVITY

“Avoid the left side of God, whatever you do! Avoid Her Divine left flank, haunch, shoulder, carabhat.” Youthful he was too serious, fading fast in the dark, milky evening, the ocean-spume forced up Skellig´s West Face which was acting as a kind of gigantic, basalt sea-flute.He was me, I realized, way too serious, grown old as a youth, his not yet bearded face unreal in a black-purple Atlantic evening .
My ( i.e. his ) last words ” Whatever you say, don´t say it! ” were lost in the upward roar of ocean-wind, a great swell slapping a hundred lowing seal-mammies below on their ( – certainly for Milton ) awful calving rocks .
I loved every child´s Christmas, the dark morning not really cold, our black puddings special, our Child born to die in my place ; or was it the other way round, His puddings a-steaming ?
John Milton and our Parish Priest were as one, at least on this: that He´d left Heav´n´s high Councel-Table to be dished up in humble North Tipperary, unwrapped and freezing in our parish-crib, not far from our lambing sheep. No choice, certainly. He´d be for the knife.
“Ar dheis Dé” was deep in all families, and not just at our Feast of That Light Unsufferable; my little mind knew one of our crowd had minced his own mother up a decade before.
Christ! To give up sitting in the midst of Trinal Timelessness and to choose our darksome, clay House, our sheds, out-houses, hen-coop, corrugated-iron roofs with the cold draught that killed my first dog, Daisy or was it Keeper?
Later, holy beardlessness and youth – if not sense -were on my side, pondering: ” At Her right side may rest rightly be”, as Aunt Brigid´s soul crawled up our cleaned – out chimney like seaweedy Skellig air. Later again I´d compose my nine-fold harmony, a full consort for the weltring waves, yes, fair Jewesses to young me.
Later still, I panicked: what if it was me ? – knife-to-the-beard, young stubble, WHOSE black puddings for our Xmas ? I do wish for, I yearn for bliss, full and perfect. I want a not-too-little steam-roller which rolls in a courtly stable for our spangled host, a slight rise in pocket-money for a bright new year, the Sun in bed with Mrs. Milton.
So let´s suppose Nature – in awe of my redemptive theology – did pollute with sinfull blame Skellig West Face halcyons or its December turtle-winged harbingers? Are you serious ? While they their oozy channel keep ? While yet our Christmas Childe plus all we wish to be ” at Her right side” ? to be ” Ar dheis Dé ” ?
Sharp the childish Christmas knife. Sharp as a disappointment in the toy steam-roller department, sharp the pointing a finger at Skellig to face the scaly Horrour of just who exactly´s swindging, foulded tail? So it must have been as Childe Christmas´s well-ballanc´t world on hinges hung that I swung, flung childish Christmas dung, done our long-planned Tipperary silver chime. Young, serious MÉ, my very MICH remained beardless in my wintry panic before the sonorous, hardly concealed threat of: ” their oozy channel keep”. Meaning just what?
What might the Angelike symphony ( see double bass honks, very well I have meant them, starting equally well-meant Second Symphony ) have sounded up on the wintry West Face, through our children´s awe-filled Atlantic flute-spume ? Tender December infant, I couldn´t fathom : ” Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam! ” Or is it: “May she sidle up to the right side of God´s Carabhat” ?
I was that young musicianer in that December darksome Mortal Clay House. I asked, WHOSE” flocking shades pale / Troop to th ínfernall jail.” Beardless, the young will always cower. Who´d misplaced our newly clean swadling bands anyhow – was it to controul the damned crew? Where were you, wanton Mrs. Milton ? In which SUN´s bed sported you , far from our Northern Europe yule-tide ? far from the dredded Infants hand, you, too, a yellow-skirted Fay, eh?
Yes, Time is, I cowtowed to our Skellig Song which is a-playing on every basalt sea-flute. There Time equals squared, moist M.C. out on the wet West Face. He “our deadly forfeit released”, eh? Was it, then, He who redeemed, repaired my broken toy steam-roller that Xmas with His hallow´d fire, eh? A spangled present to the Infant God and His Feary Father, eh ? Baroque begobs and Crystall sphears and black pudding special, eh , He was to die in my place, was that Their plan, eh ? Was it that which all our silly thoughts so busie kept, so near and so far on that Nativity Morning of old, eh, we sons of A Tipperary Nollaig morning ? Was it our Skellig´s wakefull , watery trump of doom that thundered through deep Kerry sea-depths with a horrid clang ? Such a Song of terror for a still beardless, Heav´n-born-childe?

Posted under: Humble Hamburg Musings

Comments are closed.