Transfixus Sed Non Mortuus

Here I Stand, Pierced and Transfixed

Browsing Posts tagged america

In “Waiting for Superman,” a documentary about the dismal state of America’s public schools systems, comparisons are made between Finland’s system and the American one.

LynNell Hancock investigates: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Why-Are-Finlands-Schools-Successful.html

“Whatever it takes” is an attitude that drives not just Kirkkojarvi’s 30 teachers, but most of Finland’s 62,000 educators in 3,500 schools from Lapland to Turku-professionals selected from the top 10 percent of the nation’s graduates to earn a required master’s degree in education. Many schools are small enough so that teachers know every student. If one method fails, teachers consult with colleagues to try something else. They seem to relish the challenges. Nearly 30 percent of Finland’s children receive some kind of special help during their first nine years of school.

As this March 17’s shamrock-laden head becomes visible in my mind’s eye, I am reminded of all the St. Patrick’s Days before it. Last year was pretty relaxing and sweet, but also full of memories as well. The year before was somewhat bitter, and two years before that, it was triumphant.

Being of Irish descent, St. Patrick’s Day always held a special place in my heart. As an American, a chance to celebrate the culture of your ancestors only comes rarely. So, for me, St. Patrick’s Day has been a time to learn a little more about the Irish, whether from the standpoint of language, history, or culture. It has been a time for me to appreciate family, and just how wonderful they are.

As I grew up, I learned other reasons to make St. Patrick’s Day so special. I loved to get up super early to hang out with my friends and have a green beer at Ashley’s, and then spend the day at Conor O’Neill’s singing, dancing, and loving. I enjoyed going to the St. Patrick’s Day Mass. I loved to go around the town to listen to all the Irish music, which is my favorite type of music. I also met my ex-girlfriend on St. Patrick’s Day, so we considered it our anniversary as well. All these things combined to make a crescendo of excitement within me as St. Patrick’s Day approached.

So, now this year’s day of Patrick is nearly upon us. I’m trying to understand how I feel about it. I think that some of my faith in others died around Saint Patrick’s Day not so long ago, and I still carry some sense of loss for the way I used to see things. And even recently, I still had a glimmer of hope for certain things to happen in my life, but that too has gone to seed in recent months. In some ways, I feel like I’m standing nervous and naked before a throng, and for the first time in my life, I don’t have any feelings of superiority or shame. On this St. Patrick’s Day, I will be here with the gift of gratitude, a gift that I’ve learned more about since last St. Patrick’s Day. Other than that, it’s hard to say how I will feel. I guess I will find out when it comes around.

Thousands are Sailing

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The island, it is silent now
but the ghosts still haunt the waves.
And the torch lights up a famished man
who fortune could not save.

Did you work upon the railroad?
Did you rid the streets of crime?
Were your dollars from the White House?
Were they from the five and dime?

Did the old songs taunt or cheer you,
and did they still make you cry
Did you count the months and years
or did your teardrops quickly dry?

“Ah, no,” says he, “twas not to be
On a coffin ship I came here
And I never even got so far
that they could change my name”

Thousands are sailing
across the western ocean
to a land of opportunity
that some of them will never see.
Fortune prevailing
across the western ocean.
Their bellies full,
their spirits free,
they’ll break the chains of poverty,
and they’ll dance…

In Manhattan’s desert twilight,
in the death of afternoon,
we stepped hand in hand on Broadway,
like the first man on the moon.

And “The Blackbird” broke the silence,
as you whistled it so sweet
and in Brendan Behan’s footsteps,
I danced up and down the street!

Then we said goodnight to Broadway,
giving it our best regards,
tipped our hats to Mister Cohen,
dear old Times Square’s favorite bard.

Then we raised a glass to JFK,
and a dozen more besides!
When I got back to my empty room,
I suppose I must have cried.

Thousands are sailing
again across the ocean
where the hand of opportunity
draws tickets in a lottery.
Postcards we’re mailing
of sky-blue skies and oceans
from rooms the daylight never sees
where lights don’t glow on Christmas trees,
but we dance to the music
and we dance!

Thousands are sailing
across the western ocean
where the hand of opportunity
draws tickets in a lottery.
Where e’er we go, we celebrate
the land that makes us refugees
from fear of Priests with empty plates
from guilt and weeping effigies,
and we dance to the music
and we dance!
~Shane McGowan

My Nashville friends that think I’m strange
to make my home out on the range
think it’s nothin but a God forsaken land.
“Why don’t you bring your guitar and family, Move on down to Tennessee?”
Well, I just smile ’cause they don’t understand.
But if they ever saw a sunrise on a mountain mornin’,
watched those cotton candy clouds go by,
they’d know why…
I live beneath these western skies

I got peace of mind and elbow room
I love to smell the sage in bloom,
catch a rainbow on my fishin’ line.
We got county fairs and rodeos,
ain’t a better place for my kids to grow,
just turn ’em loose in the western summer time!
And if you ever held your woman on summer’s evening
while the prairie moon was blazin in her eyes,
then you’d know why…
I live beneath these western skies

You ain’t lived until you’ve watched those northern lights.
Set around the campfire and hear the coyotes call at night,
makes you feel alright.

So guess I’ll stay right where I’m at,
wear my boots and my cowboy hat,
but I’ll come and see ya once in a while.
I’ll bring my guitar and sing my songs,
sorry if I don’t stay too long.
I love Tennessee, but ya know it’s just ain’t my style.
I gotta be where I can see those Rocky Mountains,
ride my horse, and watch an eagle fly.
I gotta live my life and write my songs
beneath these western skies.

When I die you can bury me
beneath these western skies!
Yippee aye…
~Chris Ledoux

An American Wake

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In the year of forty seven a new tradition came home
From necessity came a brand new name
For the hunger that stalked their bones
They got their affairs in order
And gathered their friends around
What was left of the food and the whiskey too
Was rounded up from this town
Well they listened to the lies and the stories
A last chance to look them in the eye
Like a walking corpse behind the horse
And you didn’t even get to die

An American Wake was all they had
They never went back to their native land
They left to find a place to stand
With everything they could take
But first they had to face their American Wake

Well the Brits all said it was coming
The famine was willed by God
The Tory crimes of the London Times
Sent many to die in the fog
Now some gave gifts for the journey
Some only had tears and a prayer
An eleven week ride when they caught the tide
If they even lived halfway there

An American Wake was all they had
They never went back to their native land
They left to find a place to stand
With everything they could take
First they had to face their American Wake

Then a jig was danced, a one last chance
For the father to face the son
As the keener wailed they could count the sails
In the rising of the sun
There were blessings and toasts, they buried old ghosts
And they drank to the now and then
As the minutes passed by they tried to deny
They would never see Ireland again

An American Wake was all they had
They never went back to their native land
They left to find a place to stand
With everything they could take
First they had to face their American Wake
~The Elders

Independence Day

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I really like Reagan’s story of Jefferson and Adams. I didn’t know that Jefferson and Adams both died on the same day!

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys their Independence Day!

Over There

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Johnnie, get your gun,
Get your gun, get your gun,
Take it on the run,
On the run, on the run.
Hear them calling, you and me,
Every son of liberty.
Hurry right away,
No delay, go today,
Make your daddy glad
To have had such a lad.
Tell your sweetheart not to pine,
To be proud her boy’s in line.

Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word over there –
That the Yanks are coming,
The Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming
Ev’rywhere.
So prepare, say a pray’r,
Send the word, send the word to beware.
We’ll be over, we’re coming over,
And we won’t come back till it’s over
Over there.

Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word over there –
That the Yanks are coming,
The Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming
Ev’rywhere.
So prepare, say a pray’r,
Send the word, send the word to beware.
We’ll be over, we’re coming over,
And we won’t come back till it’s over
Over there.

Johnnie, get your gun,
Get your gun, get your gun,
Johnnie show the Hun
Who’s a son of a gun.
Hoist the flag and let her fly,
Yankee Doodle do or die.
Pack your little kit,
Show your grit, do your bit.
Yankee to the ranks,
From the towns and the tanks.
Make your mother proud of you,
And the old Red, White and Blue.

Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word over there –
That the Yanks are coming,
The Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming
Ev’rywhere.
So prepare, say a pray’r,
Send the word, send the word to beware.
We’ll be over, we’re coming over,
And we won’t come back till it’s over
Over there.

Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word over there –
That the Yanks are coming,
The Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming
Ev’rywhere.
So prepare, say a pray’r,
Send the word, send the word to beware.
We’ll be over, we’re coming over,
And we won’t come back till it’s over
Over there.
~George M. Cohen