The Unnoticed Shadow

Steve Earle: Galway Girl

I decided to rewrite some of my earlier blog posts. This one has a much more comprehensive introduction than the original.

Steve Earle is a man of many talents. He is a singer songwriter, musician, short story writer, actor, playwright and record producer.2012-new-orleans-jazz--heritage-festival-presented-by-shell---day-7

Born in Virginia in the USA in 1955 he was always a rebel. He ran away from home at fourteen to follow his idol, singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt, around Texas. He eventually dropped out of school at sixteen and went to live with his Uncle in Atlanta.

He has had a very varied career including problems with drugs. He has been married seven time and lately has been an anti-war activist and campaigner against the death penalty.

I picked this track because it unblocked a poem I had wanted to write for years and couldn’t get right. To break the deadlock I decided to sit down and take notes as I listened to the track “Galway Girl” on a loop. The poem “Unnoticed Shadow” was the result and it also started the idea of using music as an inspiration for poetry which led to the blog.

I was brought up a Catholic in the West End of Newcastle upon Tyne. It is a little city with a big reputation in the far northern corner of England. 

Growing up, I would be taken by my Father on a Sunday Mornings to St Robert’s Church and Wednesday evenings I would go to the Youth Club in the church hall. The Catholic population of the West End of Newcastle was mainly of Irish extraction, as was my Grandmother.

In the youth club we would dance with the girls and sometimes, out of sight of the ever watchful eye of the parish priest, if we were lucky, we would have a stolen kiss. There was a look to these young girls with their dark hair, ivory skin and blue eyes.

Years later I would visit Ireland through work and later, after one of my daughter moved to Dublin, my wife and I would make regular visits to see her and our grandchildren.

Steve’s song reminded me how ideas and images are imprinted in our minds from an early age.

Galway Girl

 

I ain’t seen nothin’ like a Galway Girl” Steve Earle

 

Sunday morning St Robert’s Catholic Church 1960

She is thirteen and I am twelve and I am in love

Complete, undiscovered and unrequited love

Her crown of twisted black curls, her steel blue eyes

Have seduced me, stolen my heart and taken the strength from my bones

A glimpse of her knee socks makes my knees knock

The click of her heels is symphony on the stone slabs

The choir’s hymn a hallelujah to her beauty

She is an Angel

She is my salvation

She is out of my league

I am invisible as dust

 

I ask you friends what’s a fellow to do

because her hair was black and her eyes were blue

 

Sunday Morning O’Connell Street 2000

The airport coach drops me off by the Old Post Office

I blink in the sullen sunlight of a Irish morning

There she is, waiting for me on a Dublin Street

She’s sitting on a bench on St Stephen’s Green

She’s serving my pint in Slatery’s Bar

Her skin still pale as paper

Her dark blue eyes still drown me

Her Guinness Black braids entice me

I am seduced again, tumbling through time

The heady smell of incense mixed with her perfume

Light dancing through the stained glass windows

Fifty years ago I lost my heart to a Galway Girl

She is still out of my league

I am still a unnoticed shadow

 

I ask you friends what is a fellow to do

because her hair was black and her eyes were blue

Jeff Price

© Jeff Price July 2018

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