Thursday, August 02, 2007

Tommy Makem Dies 
And the AP embarrasses itself...

He brought audiences to tears with "Four Green Fields," about a woman whose sons died trying to prevent strangers from taking her fields.

No, dumbass! The song isn't about "a woman." The song is about Ireland.

Read the lyrics:

What did I have, said the fine old woman
What did I have, this proud old woman did say
I had four green fields, each one was a jewel
But strangers came and tried to take them from me
I had fine strong sons, who fought to save my jewels
They fought and they died, and that was my grief said she

Long time ago, said the fine old woman
Long time ago, this proud old woman did say
There was war and death, plundering and pillage
My children starved, by mountain, valley and sea
And their wailing cries, they shook the very heavens
My four green fields ran red with their blood, said she

What have I now, said the fine old woman
What have I now, this proud old woman did say
I have four green fields, one of them's in bondage
In stranger's hands, that tried to take it from me
But my sons had sons, as brave as were their fathers
My fourth green field will bloom once again said she

The "Old Woman" or Sean bHean Bhocht, is the affectionate metaphor in Irish literature for Ireland, like Uncle Sam is for the U.S. and John Bull is for the UK. The four green fields are Ireland's four provinces, Leinster, Munster, Connaught, and Ulster.

The strangers were the British occupiers.

The fourth green field is Ulster, still under British rule.

The song is a poignant longing for a reunited Ireland.

Look, it's not exactly a subtle metaphor. Makem wasn't one for understatement.

Good one, AP.

The scary part is, this dweeb probably majored in English or Journalism.


Splash, out


Update: This calls for Danny Boy.

While I love his version, my favorite version is that of Geraldine Fitzgerald from her one-woman show of about 1980. I have it on LP and she really nails it. She also gave a long explanation, just as you did, of what the song really says.
Heh...take a second look at that quote in the article. Looks like someone brought them up to speed.
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