Spirit of Spring

The mind’s eye sees it – the spirit of a spring morning – and the instinct senses it, quick as thought: a new presence which was not around the morning before, nor the night before – nor the day before.

There is a subtle quickening of a gay urgency which seems at any moment as if about to transfigure the dour bog, the bent grey stone ditches over the skyline of Garriba, the air of lonliness on the morning road.

Just yesterday evening a peach sky with a star in its throat silhouetted a ploughman at Slieve Gullion’s foot into mystical allegory – and still it was not around. But of its presence this morning there is no doubt. And catching its breadth, you stop, even though on your way to a morning weekday mass.

There had been rain during the night but it did no more than kiss the stones and darken the soil of the ploughed fields. It did not even extinguish the fire smouldering for almost a week in the bog; for it still smoked in a thin blue skein as delicate as the faded willow pattern on a aged and dusty plate on top of a dresser in some ancient thatched house.


It goes on in this vein. 

And poetic as his descriptions are, Michael J Murphy only comes into his own when describing his people, their folk ways and habits, and especially their speech.

Yes, you’ve guessed it. This is Michael J Murphy week on Newry Journal.

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