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Analysis of Raglan Road

DigiTrad:
RAGLAN ROAD


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GUEST,slainte 25 Jun 02 - 01:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 May 02 - 12:50 PM
GUEST,Degsy 17 May 02 - 11:20 AM
GUEST 04 Feb 02 - 08:12 AM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Feb 02 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,Arkie 04 Feb 02 - 01:28 AM
GUEST 03 Feb 02 - 07:24 PM
Herga Kitty 03 Feb 02 - 01:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Feb 02 - 11:45 AM
GUEST 03 Feb 02 - 10:24 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Feb 02 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,misophist 03 Feb 02 - 12:42 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 02 Feb 02 - 11:12 PM
GUEST,no one important 02 Feb 02 - 10:23 PM
GUEST,no one important 02 Feb 02 - 09:56 PM
Aidan Crossey 23 Dec 01 - 06:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Dec 01 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,ulysses 23 Dec 01 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,Jonny-boy 23 Dec 01 - 11:04 AM
Murray MacLeod 29 Nov 01 - 10:31 PM
GUEST,chrisj 29 Nov 01 - 10:02 PM
shanty_steve 29 Nov 01 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,Niall Rooney (niall_rooney@yahoo.com) 31 Oct 01 - 11:30 AM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Oct 01 - 10:05 PM
Peter T. 02 Oct 01 - 01:42 PM
MikeT 02 Oct 01 - 12:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Sep 01 - 02:59 PM
dorareever 30 Sep 01 - 02:58 PM
Peter T. 30 Sep 01 - 01:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Sep 01 - 12:11 PM
Peter T. 30 Sep 01 - 11:43 AM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Sep 01 - 05:34 PM
ard mhacha 28 Sep 01 - 09:32 AM
Peter T. 27 Sep 01 - 03:43 PM
GUEST,JTT 27 Sep 01 - 12:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Sep 01 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,philcave 27 Sep 01 - 11:59 AM
Peter T. 06 Sep 01 - 01:11 PM
black walnut 06 Sep 01 - 08:33 AM
Aidan Crossey 06 Sep 01 - 08:29 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Sep 01 - 07:36 AM
Aidan Crossey 06 Sep 01 - 03:48 AM
GUEST, Dan 05 Sep 01 - 11:54 PM
Aidan Crossey 04 Sep 01 - 04:11 AM
Aidan Crossey 03 Sep 01 - 06:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Sep 01 - 05:38 PM
ard mhacha 03 Sep 01 - 05:12 PM
ard mhacha 03 Sep 01 - 04:45 PM
GUEST, Dan 03 Sep 01 - 04:24 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 03 Sep 01 - 03:56 PM
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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST,slainte
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 01:14 PM

The point was made that the end of this poem / song is a bit arrogant. I felt obliged to contradict this.

On the surface the last verse can be interpreted as the arrogance of an artist for unartistic people - he tried to woo with all his cultured skills, but failed because she was a heathen. However, I've a slightly different interpretation of the last verse.

In much of Kavangh's poetry, he talks about his farming background, which he abhors (read his poem Stony Grey Soil and you'll get the idea). I believe in Raglan Road when he talks of "a creature made of clay " he is referring to himself and not to the woman he loves.

He tried to woo "not as I should", he being "a creature made of clay" and the woman he tried to woo something much more than this - the references to "old ghosts", "the angel", "Queen of Hearts", and "the enchanted way" implying her being of the non-clay, mythical variety.

The last line of the poem, can be interpreted as the antithesis of his situation. For an angel to attempt to woo a human (clay), it would lose its most prized possession - its wings. He is not an angel (as some of this site's contributors have been more than happy to elaborate on), whereas he sees her as one. Because he tried to woo not of his kind (ie an angel), he must also face a great loss - a life of torment and anguish - the poor bugger.


This thread is closed
USE THE NEW THREAD, PLEASE!

Thanks.
Messages posted after this one will be moved or deleted.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 May 02 - 12:50 PM

As you said Degsy, ths is a very long thread, which is wy I started a part 2 for it, since a lot of people couldn't open one this length. If you posted there you'd be more likely to have people see it.

But I think you might do well to open a new one with Goban Saor. or something about Masons in the title. It sounds an interesting question.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST,Degsy
Date: 17 May 02 - 11:20 AM

Wowee this was a long thread. I came across it looking for something else (a luke kelly song) and I could not find any reference to the query in the original message "What does he mean by 'secret sign' that is known to artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone ?".

I always assumed he was referring to the Goban Saor. I was told by an uncle, who used to work in London in the 70s with masons from Northern Ireland (real stone masons that is)that the old masons used to have their own secret language that was passed along from mason to mason and they called it the goban saor. This might be rubbish but has anyone else heard of it. Incidentally, the Goban Saor is also a name give to the place in the Littleton bog in County Tipperary where the Derrynaflan Hoard was found.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 08:12 AM

Actually, I hadn't thought of Princess Diana at all regarding Queen of Hearts. Must be an English thing. The "Queen of Hearts" reference is to the nursery rhyme poem attributed to (if I'm remembering my lit history right) Charles Lamb?

The "not making hay" reference which follows it, to me, means that the poet knows his love will always be unrequited.

There is the shift from August to November too, as if the poet can't decide whether to feel poignant or bitter. Which is a choice we all make when love doesn't go our way. That is what the poem is about to me. How the poet is going to live with the reality of his love being unrequited.

There are many layers of traditional Irish motifs to this unrequited love song--the age difference metaphor in August/November, and the difference in feelings being evoked by the seasonal metaphor of late summer to early winter.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 06:05 AM

This thread is getting too long, so I've put in part 2, incorporating a bunch of recent posts to make continuity easier.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 01:28 AM

Where I grew up, "making hay" meant you were getting somewhere", you were making progress. Conversely, not making hay, meant "getting nowhere", making no gain. I suspect that's what Kavanaugh intended. Nice to see this thread. I heard this song for the first time about a week ago and have been charmed by it.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 07:24 PM

BTW, the lovely Cantaria website has an MP3 of this by Donal Hegarty, and a lovely reference to this Raglan Road thread on Mudcat here:

http://www.chivalry.com/cantaria/lyrics/raglan-road.html


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 01:08 PM

I heard,from a friend who knew Kavanagh, that Deirdre Manifold claimed to have been the inspiration for the poem. But he knew a lot of women...

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 11:45 AM

I can't see that, in association with tart-making, there's anything sentimental about the phrase Queen of Hearts. Forget the Princess Diana stuff which may gets in the way of the phrase for a lot of people these days. (And note it's not "queen of my heart" - making it "of hearts" has quite different associations.)

I know it's easy to use the term ironic to get away with anything, but in this context I definitely think there's an ironic tinge to it. Sardonic too. And that goes double for the last line, which I'd definitely read as having a self-mocking colouring.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 10:24 AM

I don't think the August vs autumn thing is that big of a deal. We know what the poet is getting at--summer is spent, the prospect of youthful love gone, that sort of thing. I do get the sense that the leaves are about to fall, ie that the end is perceived as being near, not yet arrived. So August works better in that sense, because the poet has had an epiphany about the girl--realizes that he is not to win her. The place he is in is one of poignant resignation to the fact that there is no romantic relationship between them. He isn't looking back in bitterness (that would be a winter season), he is still in the warmth of some sort of relationship with her, but knows it won't go beyond the point it has reached.

I believe the "enchanted way" reference may be to the Grand Canal mentioned above, or to St Stephen's Green (Kavanaugh also mentions Grafton street). There is a strong sense of place in the poem, and that part of Dublin is the place. It is the most romantic part of the city really. Trinity is just north of the Grand Canal and Grafton Street ends at St Stephen's Green, and then as you walk through the green towards Leeson St, on the south end it empties out at least in the direction of the Grand Canal, where Kavanaugh's statue is found between Baggot and Leeson Sts.

This is sort of an aisling poem in English, but it also was written more as a song, than a poem. The angel reference would be a reference to the aisling, rather than the speirbhean, I think. Trifling difference to some, but not if you are trying to evoke the aisling convention. Speirbhean would be more of a political allusion, rather than a romantic literary one, in the Irish sense.

I do think the Queen of Hearts is a mawkishly sentimental throw away line. Kavanaugh, like every other poet, wasn't above or beyond a bad line here and there. It is a bit clumsy for the metre of the verse, I think. But he did well putting the verse to the tune, considering he was a much better poet than songwriter.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 09:15 AM

I think you are likely right about that Bonnie, though almost everyone seems to sing autumn - autumn goes more naturally with the fallen leaf, but logically, what'd he be doing making hay (or not making hay) in the autumn?

Dick Gaughan, I note, has it as August, and I think he'd have likely checked with the text. But a rapid trawl through Google seems to indicate that it's been recorded more often as autumn.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST,misophist
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 12:42 AM

To paraphrase another Irishman, W B Yeats, Poetry is never about what the author puts in, it's about what the reader takes out. If poetry were nothing more that saying exactly what you mean, in the most powerful language at hand, All of Churchill's better speeches would be taught in the Universities. The key to true is ambiguity, mood and mode. Precise understanding? Shit.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 11:12 PM

My own interpretation of the "queen of hearts" and the "not making hay" lines is that they both reflect the idea of summer, and its symbolism possibly links them. In this bright warm season (of youth?) she is industriously at work, while he by contrast is not - though the sun is shining and the chance may not come again. This idea of passing time that is gone forever also finds resonance in the first line of the poem, which I BELIEVE (though I'm relying solely on memory so please only one person at a time shoot me down if I'm wrong)is that it's not on an "autumn" day but an AUGUST day (check a poetry anthology - songbooks can get it wrong too). If so, it changes the opening season (though in August summer is nearing its end) and the song then progresses through time to late autumn/early winter, as do his hopes. And finally there is no season evoked at all, only ghosts. This could also be an oblique reference to the difference in their ages.

I actually once met a lady (now dead) who had known Hilda, and I'm annoyed now with my younger self for not plying her with questions! All I can remember of our one conversation on the subject (years ago) was that Hilda was a very charismatic character and many people besides the poet were attracted to her. The poem beautifully captures that elusive quality.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST,no one important
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 10:23 PM

Sorry to continue on a long deceased thread. Sorry to chime in at all, in fact, but my fingers keep typing.

I look at a sculpture and I say "Wow, that is one stunning sculpture."

As I'm looking, I hear a historian explaining the significance of the subject, the history of the sculptor and a few interesting tidbits of information describing both the subject's and the sculptor's lives at the time that the piece was actually produced.

It's all extremely interesting and I'm very happy to have learned all of this, because it certainly does create an understanding, of certain aspects of the work, that I didn't have before.

But when it's all been said and done, I still look at the sculpture and say "Wow, that is one stunning sculpture."

The work speaks for itself.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST,no one important
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 09:56 PM

it's simply a song about "loss". The beauty in this poem/song is that the more that you read and the more that you analyze, the more you find that it just brings you back to the feelings that you felt when you first heard the song; when you knew nothing of what its "meaning" was. I understand the authors' motivations more clearly and I understand the historical setting/backround more clearly, but the emotion evoked was there before I knew any of this, and it is still there.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: Aidan Crossey
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 06:44 PM

And the dead arose and appeared to many ... (i.e. the sudden re-emergence of this thread).


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 04:27 PM

Not knowing the words wouldn't necessarily mean he didn't understand what they were about. All depends what you mean by knowing a song. A lot of people sing songs, and are word perfect, without beginning to know them. I'm sure it works the other way too - people who can't remember a line, who know the song inside out


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST,ulysses
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 12:52 PM

There was once a great alto sax player - I won't give his secret away by naming him - who was widely praised for his sensitivity in showing the inner meaning of the ballads he played. After he died, his wife confessed that he could never remember lyrics and never knew what the songs he played were about.

Just sing the song.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST,Jonny-boy
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 11:04 AM

The images drawn up to me by this poem/song have always been so powerful that they stun me. A depiction of the progression of time and place when a new passion unfolds with references to the seasons, earth and sky as time moves on is amazing and universally human. Love imagined, gained and lost with respect to those places and points in time is brilliant and real. A poet, dreamer and admirer, who blinded by the physical beauty of his infatuation, tries to super-impose his own intellectual meanderings on one who seems either unable or unwilling to grasp the depth of his passion ends up frustrated and alone....I think the last line is only sadness.....


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 29 Nov 01 - 10:31 PM

Patrick Kavanagh A Biography Antoinette Quinn

Pub Gill and MacMillan November 2001 0 7171 2651 X Price €24.99/ 31.50 Hardback

Seamus Heaney has coupled Patrick Kavanagh (1904-67) with W.B. Yeats as the two most influential figures in twentieth century Irish poetry.

Kavanagh was born in Co. Monaghan, the son of a cobbler-cum-small farmer. He left school at thirteen but continued to educate himself, reading and writing poetry in his spare time. In 1929 he began contributing verses to the Irish Statesman and was soon publishing in Irish and English journals. His first collection, Ploughman and Other Poems, appeared in 1936 and was followed by an autobiography, The Green Fool, in 1938. In 1939 he moved to Dublin where he spent the rest of his life as a freelance writer.

He first emerged as an important literary voice with his long poem, The Great Hunger, in 1942. Other collections appeared in the following decade to growing critical acclaim. Kavanagh's work was his life, but he was also part of social and literary Dublin for almost thirty years in the company of a gifted generation of writers, among them Flann O'Brien and Brendan Behan. His position in the history of Irish poetry is secure. Antoinette Quinn's biography will be the standard life for many years to come.

Author Dr Antoinette Quinn teaches in the Modern English Department of Trinity College Dublin. A native of Iniskeen, Co. Monaghan - Kavanagh's birthplace - she is the author of Patrick Kavanagh: Born Again Romantic, the established critical work on the poet.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST,chrisj
Date: 29 Nov 01 - 10:02 PM

Shanty Steve, please could you provide full title and publisher's name, etc, for the biography of Patrick Kavanagh by Antoinette Quinn?


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: shanty_steve
Date: 29 Nov 01 - 08:08 AM

A biography of Kavanagh, written by someone called Antoinette Quinn, has just been published. It spends an entire chapter giving the backround to this poem. Here's my summary ...

Basically, in 1945, Kavanagh became obsessed with a woman named Hilda Moriarty. He was in his forties, she was in her early twenties. He was a struggling journalist/poet, and she was a student in Trinity College in Dublin. She came from a well off family in Kerry. They seem to have struck up some kind of relationship, but perhaps not a romantic one from her point of view. She was certainly impressed with his poetry. The book makes the point that she made a big effort to help Kavanagh. For example, she used contacts to try to get work for him (without much success). She also tried to improve his personal hygiene problem (again without success)! Kavanagh's obsession with Hilda was so strong that he even took to following her when she was going out on dates with other men. At Christmas in 1945, he abandoned his normal routine of spending the holiday period with his ageing mother in Monaghan, and followed Hilda to her home town in Kerry. Ultimately, by the time Raglan Road (Dark hairded Myriam ...) was written in 1946, it had dawned on Kavanagh that nothing was going to come of the relationship. When the poem was first published, Kavanagh used the name (Myriam) of the girlfriend of a friend of his as an attempt to disguise the real object of his affections.

Apparently, Kavanagh's American published declined the poem on the basis that it contained some substandard lines in the last two verses. The writer of the biography agrees with this assessment, and states that Kavanagh wrote a number of superior poems about Hilda. In my opinion, some poetry really comes into its own when put to music. For example, the work of Cicely Fox Smith (which has been discussed elsewhere in the forum) was never very highly regarded until people started writing tunes to go along with her words. In the case of Raglan Road, it happens to have one of the best tunes in 'The Dawning of the Day'. Kavanagh can be given some credit here, as he wrote the poem specifically for this tune.

Regards, Stephen


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road (NB!!!)d
From: GUEST,Niall Rooney (niall_rooney@yahoo.com)
Date: 31 Oct 01 - 11:30 AM

"AND I SAID LET.. GRIEF.... BE A FALLEN LEAF... AT THE DAWNING OF THE DAY"

So, finding himself at the dawn of day (the dawning of this relationship with Myriam), he compared grief to a fallen leaf. Now who worries about Autumn's fallen leaves at the onset of a pleasant summer's day?

This obviously refers to the fact that he consciously decided to act on his feelings for Myriam, despite realizing that he would ultimately be hurt.

At the dawning of his relationship with Myriam (the dawning of the day) he felt it convenient to class the unignorable "grief" that he knew would inevitably ensue, as the unavoidable remnants of the relationship that he nevertheless wanted to have(just as a fallen leaf is the unavoidable result of a pleasant summer's day)

Just like we feel that the very existence of a summer's day far outweighs the resulting fallen (dead) leaf, he similarly felt that the ensuing grief was not reason enough to decline the wonderful chance of happiness, albeit for a finite length of time.

Alternatively, he may have been saying: Ok, grief will ensue, but see it as a symbol of the joy it brought before it... like a fallen leaf.

In summary, he felt it covenient, while he was at the dawning of the day, to classify grief as something that would be found far later (at the closing of the day)... a time far enough away that he could ignore it for a while!

Indeed it is wise of Patrick Kavanagh to have stated that the sadness and grief that follows a break-up might better be viewed as existing only by virtue of the fact that extreme happiness and contentment preceded it.

I think though that Patrick Kavanagh recognised that his inevitable grief would be caused not only by the very fact that he was involved in a relationship with a girl but that he was involved in a relationship with this particular girl... a girl that Yeats might well have described as a "Maud Gonne"-ish type girl with "beauty like a tightened bow"

PS: I love Luke Kelly's version, raw and emtoive.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 10:05 PM

Songs don't write themselves you know. Even the ones that get changed and changed again started off somewhere. Most of the time we just don't know where.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 01:42 PM

Purists, what purists? No one here but us garbage pickers....
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: MikeT
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 12:35 PM

To all you folk purists; I guess I am a little confused, I thought folk songs were songs that had no author as such, but were modified and changed by the 'folk process' over the years. At the risk of reopening this never ending debate, I am not sure if Raglan Road would even be considered a true 'folk' song, as it appears to have an author(unless I am missing something here). BTW I personally enjoy the Van Morrison song, as I do many of the other songs Van has written.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 02:59 PM

Don't they just!


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: dorareever
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 02:58 PM

What?! Van Morrison version horrible? Oh,Lord you are all folkies purists!!! Okay,anybody can have his opinion I suppose...I just like that version.I'm not A VM fan,usually he bores the hell out of me,but I like the way he sings folk songs.This site is wonderful,and all people posting seems kind and informed,but sometimes you go so on the "pretentious folkie" side that I feel bad.Sorry but I had to speak my mind.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: Peter T.
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 01:59 PM

Yes but they don't do them both simultaneously -- the classic male strategy.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 12:11 PM

Well it's not uncommon for women to put men on pedestals, or have fantasies about changing them into something they are not going to be changed into.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: Peter T.
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 11:43 AM

Yeah, sorry about the Luke Kelly remark, I did like his the best, but I am interested you said that it was sung with great feeling -- didn't translate over the sound waves to me, it seemed to me to be all in the same tone. I sure agree on the Van Morrison one -- truly truly horrible, that fake let's make this verse real quiet and all that, pinched voice. (And I am a VM fan).

Could it be sung in the persona of a rejected woman poet, I wonder. Do they go about generating Galatea fantasies? I haven't known or read one who did.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Sep 01 - 05:34 PM

But it probably got people listen to the song who otherwise wouldn't. Though it wasn't a patch on Luke Kelly, I grant you that.

I don't think there's anything exclusively male in the attitudes involved. "Male longing and illusion and arrogance" aren't necessarily that different from female longing and illusion and arrogance. Obviously its sung from the point of view of the rejected poet, and the singers got to be standing in those shoes, but if you changed the "hers" to "hims" and so forth, it could just as well have been a rejected woman poet telling the story, and it wouldn't be that different. (Well, even without changing the hers to hims for that matter...)


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: ard mhacha
Date: 28 Sep 01 - 09:32 AM

Peter T, A wee bit of bloody respest for the late, great, folk singer Luke Kelly, his version was sung with great feeling. Some other guy further up this long thread referred to Van Morrison`s "singing" of the song as the best rendering, words fail me, this man shouldn`t be let within miles of a folk song, let him take his sore throat singing elsewhere. Slan Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Sep 01 - 03:43 PM

Just to point out that it wasn't me that brought in the remark about "economical"! I find it hard to imagine an ordinary listener (not knowing about bakers or whatever) considering a reference to the Queen of Hearts as being down to earth, rather the opposite -- a fantasy figure if anything.

Just to throw a sexist grenade into this, I have heard only 3 of the versions -- Joan Osborne, Sinead, and the Dubliners guy -- and while the ladies sang it more interestingly than the Dubliners guy, his seemed to me to be the most authentic because it is such a male song. I don't usually genderize songs, but this seems to me so full of male longing and illusion and arrogance that the women don't seem to me to be even close to its spirit (now runs for cover).

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 27 Sep 01 - 12:33 PM

I suppose we could start off in a whole new direction by quoting (with phonetics for examination of the rhyme-scheme) and translating the song that every Irish schoolchild of Kavanagh's generation learned, which is the original of the tune, Fáinne Gheal an Lae (Bright Dawning of the Day), an aisling, as far as I remember. Of course Kavanagh was a great man for the spéirmná.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Sep 01 - 12:24 PM

Peter T - my query was with what I took as an implication that the line about the Queen of Hearts was not economical.

As for the jarring, if there is that, which in a way there is, I think I'd argue it's justified because it seems to imply a down-to-earth quality about the woman, which points forward to the last line, where the angel does indeed get brought down to earth.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST,philcave
Date: 27 Sep 01 - 11:59 AM

Having recently heard Joan Osborne's version of the song, I have become somewhat infatuated with it and take every opportunity to sing it, so I don't forget the elusive melody which is quite haunting. I think that the veiled, metaphorical quality of the lyrics makes it all the more intriguing, so maybe we shouldn't be looking too deeply for their meaning?


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 01:11 PM

Well, McGrath, thanks for the clarification of your criticism of my criticism. Always good. Makes me think -- as was said by someone else above -- about why the line jars. I think it is because it is in a different "register" of gesture towards meaning. To compare with someone later, Bob Dylan, Dylan has all these songs which have references to Romeo and Juliet, St. Francis, Popeye, whatever, in the same song, so the "register" of referred meaning remains the same, and a line reference like this one doesn't stand out. This is the only line in Raglan Road to me that seems to be from a different kind of poem than the others.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: black walnut
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 08:33 AM

"Not making hay"...because he can't. Because he's a spirit.

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: Aidan Crossey
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 08:29 AM

Well, ride me sideways!

Here's one the songs/poems that you think you know by heart until pulled up short. Yep ...I've misremembered it. (And therefore mis-sung it for years.)

Happily, although it alters the meaning of the line in the way you describe it doesn't alter the general thrust of the whole piece! (And works in its own way ...)

(Unlike the singer I heard once who sang "... tripped lightly ACROSS the ledge ...")

But I stand corrected and will mutter to myself for the next hour and half "NOT! NOT! NOT! ..."

Go raibh míle ...


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 07:36 AM

"I still making hay"?? derrymacash

I've always heard it and sung it as "not making hay". Implying maybe that he's not getting on with things he ought to be getting on with. Which could either be wrtiting poems or the business of daily life, or maybe trying to get somewhere with the lady instead of thinking about it. Or maybe that he is in the city and he's really a countryman. Or all of them.

Or perhaps it is "still" after all. Or he used both words on different occasions, the way one might.

And the Queen of Hearts part of it also lends itself to multiple interpretations.

I can't see how a line which incorporates all those meanings can be described as anything but extremely economical. The only way I can see how that line can be desrcribed as clumsy is if internal rhymes ("Hearts/ tarts) are seen as unacceptable - and if that's so, much of the Irish tradition is out the window.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: Aidan Crossey
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 03:48 AM

Why not refresh it!

As you've probably guessed, there are those of us who like nothing better than to have an oul' gaunch about Monaghan men, lachakoes from Cavan, dealin' men from Crossmaglen, etc!


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST, Dan
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 11:54 PM

No, I'm not trying to revive this thread. Just a short thank you to all of you while commemorating its re-internment. I've also reviewed a number of academic musings on the poem at various university websites, but nothing has been nearly as enlightening as your collective wisdom. Thanks, more than I can convey, for your patience and efforts.

I'll go back to lurking and surfing, until I feel compelled to start quoting Tarry Flynn (you poor buggers)(or I may need to lavish uncontrolled praise for Alison Krauss' performance October 26.)

Dan


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: Aidan Crossey
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 04:11 AM

I wonder if Kavanagh had subtitled the poem "Ode to a love affair that never happened" if it would be easier for people to understand. That the hint of bitterness in the poem is directed not at the dark-haired enchantress, but at himself for wasting so much time worshipping from afar and yet imagining himself involved in some relationship which never got off the ground? (The archetypal teenage crush experienced in later life by a man who - as I understand it - was unfulfilled in the romantic/sexual aspect of his life.)

Regarding the "Queen of Hearts" line.

I think this line is difficult to dismiss out of hand. It is undoubtedly more clumsy than many in the poem where Kavanagh's language is exquisitely economical.

As I read it he wanted to make a point about his "still making hay" and needed a point of comparison. The "Queen of Hearts still making tarts" is a metaphor for his object of desire idly carrying on as normal (i.e. ignoring (or being unaware of ) his ardour) while he is "still making hay" - industriously (albeit possibly secretly and - tragically - ultimately futilely) pursuing her.

So whilst I would agree that the line jars a little, I find the contrast startling and it's one of the "hinges" of the poem - a dawning of self-awareness and the key that moves him towards the cataclysmic realisation that there is nothing between them.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: Aidan Crossey
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 06:09 PM

McGrath ... you're welcome. Only a thought, mind. But being a curmudgeonly Ultonian bollix much like himself, I'm unlikely to see much bad in him!


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 05:38 PM

Well Homer nods sometimes, they say (and that's not a Simpsons reference.) And I think so did Peter T. just then. Which I suppose is a over ornate way of saying that I disagree with him. But implying that we don't need to square off in assault and defence, in the Mudcat fighting mode. Which wouldn't be fitting in a thread like this.

And thanks, derrymacash for putting into words the thought about that last verse that had been hovering around and I couldn't pin down.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: ard mhacha
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 05:12 PM

Dan, I bought this paperback copy of Tarry Flynn in 1975 for 75p . I have seen the two books on sale here [Ireland] for around £10.00. At that price Amazon must have Tarry Flynn in Kavanagh`s original handwriting. Slan Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: ard mhacha
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 04:45 PM

Dan, I bought this paperback copy of Tarry Flynn in 1975 for 75p . I have seen the two books on sale here [Ireland] for around £10.00. At that price Amazon must have Tarry Flynn in Kavanagh`s original handwriting. Slan Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: GUEST, Dan
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 04:24 PM

Mr. Ard: On amazon, ebay, and half.com, I can only find ONE copy of Tarry Flynn, for U.S.$75.00 (original list price 12.50.) You may have an investment in your attic...


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Subject: RE: Analysis of Raglan Road
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 03:56 PM

HEY Jenny, I finnished "The Riders" about a month ago... I found it so compelling that I didn't even go to work the day after I started it, but just read it through that whole day and completed it in it's wee hours. The book spoke to me, and because I had already been singing the "Raglan Road", it said even more than I could ever convey here... Ouch, what an experience! And to think I have lived it too... I mentioned the song in a couple of threads, and they could have caused this one to have been revitalised... who knows?
So, Jenny? did you like it too? I would love to hear a woman's perspective on the impact "The Riders" would have on Her...ttr


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