Retrospection and Historical Assumption
There seems little doubt that a Frog was actually found near Waterford, about the year 1187; and that, in those earlier times, no one thought of introducing frogs into Ireland may be assumed, as he would have fared very badly on account of the general prejudice against them and kindred animals.
R.F. Scharff, Is The Frog a Native of Ireland? January, 1893, The Irish Naturalist, Vol 2, Jan, 1893
The Death of A Naturalist
“My grandmother, who I find was born on the 6th of January, 1726, used to tell me, that when a girl at school she was taken some distance to see a frog that was exhibited as a show…”
W. Thompson, ‘Natural History of Ireland’, Vol. IV., 1856
American Wrestler Billy Graham
WordPress sent me a message reminding me of my anniversary of using there service, it reminded me that I have not written the essay on the frog I should have done and intended to do when I started this blog. The words come from my favorite post, the image from a post that produced my favorite search term (someone from the dragon kingdom of Bhutan hit the post asking the question, “Is wrestling real”?). The terse line from 1856 forms one part of a heated argument that attracted the attention of Irish naturalists of the period. Was the frog a native species of Ireland or was it an unwanted and much despised recent English introduction to the sacred soil of Ancient Ireland?
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin I came across by chance four weeks ago through her work The Informant. I posted the first verse here without any explanation. It struck a cord with a piece I was sent by Jerome Kagan, which turned up in my inbox as I was reading and chewing through it. As someone who spent part of an undergraduate degree studying Scottish ethnology studying the recorded archive the poem did not need much explanation. The informant concerns a fieldworker visiting an old lady seeking to record a story about a youth who had been abducted by faeries in turn he will find himself disappearing into the tale. Informant carries with it a range of meanings in Ireland given the nature of years of political dispute. Cultural differences where meaning is permeable and subject to a range of perspectives and division.
Curtain is a take on narrative, the past, performance, a place where for a brief moment all hangs suspended in place and all can be captured and absorbed. But I have not lived with it for long and the sound, sense and rhythm of words changes with time and new context. I don’t feel comfortable with poetry until I have learned to speak it and work out how it breathes, moves from the diaphragm and resonates through flesh and bone as the words flow out. It is how I find a sense of such things.