Tuesday, December 29, 2015


I want to write about a Visitation   in the Bucket yesterday.

I had been reading about recent discoveries about the Irish and  ancient  Celtic DNA.  Some  of it just showed up on my doorstep yesterday. MICKEY COLEMAN --He sent me an email and then a phone call saying that he was  coming to Providence from NY  and wondered if I would meet him on such short notice.  He had heard of me in Ardboe --the site of an ancient HIGH CROSS planted by Saint Colmain and the original home of my mother's parents, Joseph Coleman and Jane Conlon. It seems that  his great grandfather John Coleman was the brother  who did not leave Ireland in the  first part of the 20th century when Joe Coleman and his brother Big George  left Ardboe and sailed from Derry to  Boston.  I  agreed to meet and he showed up yesterday with his wife Erin and their 11 month old son Micheal,  He is a musician and he  gave me his CD which has a song that he wrote and sings about  my grand father's trip from Ardboe  it is called THE PATH TO PROVIDENCE.
We talked for a couple of hours and  I  felt so  happy to have  a new  and younger connection to  that half of my heritage.  He is only 30 so he never met  Margaret and Uncle Joe when  they re-discovered their family in trips that I took with them to  County Tyrone in the 1970s.  But he knew  about me and then he saw a picture that my mother sent to the Lough Shore News that showed her father Joe and George and their  friend Peter Coyle n Cumberland.
He is a person who takes an interest in his ancestors and  is moved by all they  suffered and endured to try to find a better life.
So it was very moving to me.  I had met so many of the old timers in  my visits in the 70s that he never met because they were  no longer alive.  I mentioned names  that I could recall and he filled in their details and was so glad that I  met them and could tell him how they had  seemed in their last years.  He is a writer of his own music and he  left some  copies of the CD with me. He has a website  www.  MICKEYCOLEMAN  
I do feel grateful that  he sought me out and I saw so much of  Margaret Coleman and Johnny Devlin's curiosity and ferocious intelligence and spirit in him.  
This seems  like a fine New Year's harbinger. Especially when they handed me the  baby boy--it felt like he  represented the  light that all babies bring into  the world and the special light of the Christ Child.  Also he seemed in his baby strength and energy to be a  signal of the possibilities of the NEW YEAR 2016.  After all the  New Year  is often shown as a baby in diapers chasing out the old year.
It reminded me of that lovely image from the poem of Sir Patrick Spence
Yestreen, I saw the  new moon
With the old moon in her arms.
So the young  usher us out --if we are lucky. 

 I also  got a call from my best friend  in Ireland Christine Hobson--so the  Gaelic  ghosts and  connections are gathering for the NEW YEAR,

Strangely  about three weeks ago I wrote a poem for the online Wisconsin poetry workshop  that surprised me 


Fingers of ground fog
pushed through the window
seeped into my dream

like the miasma
of the bog
where I once
stood to dig peat
with my cousin Gerard,
who chortled as he showed
the visiting Yank
how to cut and stack the ancient fuel.

That wet wind cracks the code
of sucking mud, mold, compost,

waves of earthy decay

wash away the lingering undertone
of last night's
passing skunk.
Eyes wide open now
I inhale the scent of sod
that covers my dead.

It seems  this  writing and  recalling and honoring  our ancestors is in our DNA 

We know that the Coleman's are descendants of Saint Colmain of  Ardboe and  were a sept of the O'Neill clan. They were the  advisers to the Chieftain and also the bards who celebrated the victories and lamented the death s and defeats of the clan.  So we  know this  urge  even duty to write has  persisted for centuries we see it in John Coleman of Mullinahoe  a poet in the late 19th century, in Margaret Coleman,, in me, -we share a bardic hereditary tradition.

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