MERASHEEN SINGS TO ME Patrick James Hann's Ode To merasheen written March 15, 2001

"Every large rock on sea or land, every cove and field, every rise and turn on the road, has a name"- Desmond Fennelly, The Last Years of the Gaeltacht.

‘There is a place that I call home. It's a place I have come to know intimately and to love. Away from this place, away from the beauty and power that is Merasheen there is always something missing from my "self". Merasheen sings to me.

Risin' on her at the Centre

It sings soft lullabies. It sings historical ballads. It sings sea shanties. It sings rousing songs of revolution. It sings of joy, sorrow, regret and loss. It sings of gifts passed down. It sings of faith, hope and love. The voices are English, Irish, French, Basque and perhaps earlier still, Beothuk.

Mom's Last Trip Home

It sings to me of the joys of arriving and the sadness of departing, of coastal steamers and a crowded government wharf, of leaving home too soon, of being away too long, of my twin brother Gerard ( who died an infant- but there's two of me in many of my dreams), of family and friends now scattered, of ancestors in the graveyards, of early rites of manhood, of the importance of memory, of a fierce pride of place.

Leaving for the last time
TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WE LOVE IS NOT TO DIE

Merasheen sings to me of mad storms, of warm breezes, of sunsets, of soft twilight, of the dawn-breaking cry of a gull, of complaining crows, of the flash of a hawk, of high hills with black cliffs down to the sea, of sweet meadows, of traces and fragments of memory, of the evocative smells of wood smoke, old classrooms, newly mown hay, the store loft.

STIFF BREEZE IN THE LITTLE HARBOUR
JUNE SUNSET
TWILIGHT
CLIFFS THAT GO DOWN TO THE SEA
THE STORE LOFT RP

It sings to me of the secret places of childhood, of childhood games, of playmates’ laughter, of days too short, of wonder and surprise, of sadness and disillusionment, of moonlit nights, of muffled foggy mornings, of back coves spongy with capelin spawn, of the Big Rock, the Middle Rock, the Long Rock, the Net Rock, the Chain Rock and the Fish Rock.

EVERY ROCK HAS A NAME
OCTOBER FULL MOON
CAPELIN ROLLING IN THE BACK COVE

Merasheen sings to me of hills and ponds and features named for and by people long since gone but remembered in Gallivan's Hill, Murray's Pond, Larkin's Garden and Tommy Yeo's Point. It sings to me of sea and wharves and boats overflowing with cod, of busy harbor, of talk of weather and the fish, of store loft stories, of the wisdom of old people, of softhard women and hardsoft men, of the quest for learning and understanding self, of the silence of an empty church, of garden parties, of the wild "round the house", of concerts and skits, of journeys "in over" the hills, of a co-operative spirit and action, of duty, responsibility and work, of Christmas, St. Patrick's Day, Easter and Lady Day celebrations of Community.

BLESSING OF THE BOATS 1963
CALM DAY IN THE HARBOUR
ST PATRICK'S DAY CONCERT 1966

Merasheen sings to me of eagles, ospreys and loons, of sea otters and whales, of flatfish, conners, tomcods and jellyfish, of beautiful sculpins and darting terns, of the endless summers of childhood. It sings to me of trap berths and fishing grounds, of good bottom and clear marks, of dory, punt, skiff (Mary Moureena) and schooner (Catherine M. Hann), of the Wild Cove, the Big Shoal, the Pond Head, the Dirty Rocks, of Breakheart Point and the Fox Point, of Iron Skull and the White Sail.

HEADING OFF WITH LUNCH SF
Catherine M Hann at Hann's Wharf 1927 EW
HUMPBACK SWIMMING BY
VISITORS
FULL LOAD AT HANN'S WHARF EW

Merasheen sings to me of hidden shoals, of a welcoming light, of a secure harbor inside the frothing "narrows", of a forever restless sea, of the meeting of land, sea and sky, of peace and solitude, of being alone but not lonely, of knowing who I am, of being connected and rooted.

SUNKERS
FROTHING NARROWS

Merasheen sings to me of yesterday, today and tomorrow. A deep connection to place can't always be understood or explained. It is a commitment, a deep and abiding attachment. It is a part of every aspect of my life, every belief and thought. It is a part of instinct, of primal memory.

BIG CROWD ON THE HILL IN 1995

Without my yearly journeys home, I'm not fulfilled.

I await my next journey home.

Merasheen sings to me!

Credits:

Ernie Walsh Rita Pomroy Sharon Fitzpatrick

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