A month after an election, no government yet but the main issue of poor local roads is being addressed in downtown Asdee! The daylight saving time change has moved an hour of daylight from morning to the evening, giving us those long summer nights. Losing an hour in Spring is harder than gaining an hour in the autumn. It’s like going east on a plane to America.
Yesterday brought two welcome visitors. Fr. Tom McMahon from Knockanure was joined later in the evening by Fr. Joe Nolan of Farnastack, two men with the higher view of things. Globally we discussed how the combination of liberalism and democracy seems to have run its course when we saw what was happening in Eastern Europe and America. Then we turned into talking about the way the use of language has changed here in Kerry in our lifetime.
The March of the gadgets, while not total, has made things we regarded as eye contact, the study of a fellow human beings body language, tone and vivid oral images in dialogue less valued. A mobile phone on the table can change what we talk about and the degree of connection we feel. Fr. Joe pointed out that local dialogue was always studied. It was less spontaneous, less playful and masked any vulnerability. People often spent their solitary time sharpening their tongues. ” How much did you make at the market for your cattle?” asked the local farmer, known for his directness. He asked his neighbour, known for his privacy who replied, “more than I thought but not as much as I expected.” The tongue can be used to conceal the truth rather than to reveal the truth. We talked of the rich liturgical language of The Blasket Islands and Peig Sayers. When a neighbour visited a house at evening, as they darkened their door, they said, ‘ the blessings of God be inside this house before us!” Now, if a neighbour visits, they ring the door bell and say ‘Hi.’
No conversation with Fr. Tom is complete without he bringing up Horace. ” Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori,” it is sweet and glorious to die for ones country. We talked of 1916 and the Easter Rising. We talked of Wilfred Owen, the English poet of WWI, who died in action a week before the war ended. He referred to the quote as “the old lie.” These issues were washed down with tea and porter cake. Now that the the evening is lengthening, the sun is out and the sap is rising as the roots dig down into the soil, ‘pactum serva, as Horace said, keep the faith.