On Raglan Road of an autumn day
I saw her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare
That I might one day rue
I saw the danger and I passed
Along the enchanted way
And I said let grief be a fallen leaf
At the dawning of the day
On Grafton Street in November
We tripped lightly along the ledge
Of a deep ravine where can be seen
The worth of passion’s pledge
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts
And I not making hay
Oh I loved too much and by such by such
Is happiness thrown away
I gave her gifts of the mind
I gave her the secret signs
That’s known to the artists who have known
The true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint I did not stint
I gave her poems to say
With her own name there
And her own dark hair
Like clouds over fields of May
On a quiet street where old ghosts meet
I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had loved not as I should
A creature made of clay
When the angel woos the clay
He’ll lose his wings at the dawn of day.
What you’ve just read is the poem, written by the irish poet Patrick Kavanagh, that became a well-known irish song.
Why I simply found it so truly great is because, if you’ve been in love, you don’t need nothing else from me to explain to you. Kavanagh just put down in words.
Although he knew that he would risk being hurt by loving her, he did so anyway. And that’s basically how love works, nothing is sure except that it’s a bet, that sometimes last and sometimes hurts instead.
The poem was published in 1946 under the title “Dark Haired Miriam Ran Away”. But the real name of the woman -Hilda- was changed by the name of Patrick’s brother girlfriend, to avoid the embarrassment.
In 1987, 41 years later, Hilda was interviewed for the documentary about Kavanagh, “Gentle Tiger”. During the interview she said that the main reason for the failure of their relationship was the age gap between them.
Finally, the poem was turned into a song when Kavanagh met Luke Kelly -member of the irish band “The Dubliners”- in a pub (being in Ireland it sounds obvious :P). And since then, it has been sang by Sinéad O’Connor, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler and Ed Sheeran among others.
But for me, the best covers have been performed by Glen Hansard (this guy is musically brilliant!), and Cristina Milioti. And I wanted to shared with you all:
The butterfly effect is a concept that says -briefly explained- that any small change applied to an initial state, can result in large differences in a later state.
So I guess, that I finally understood the way in which love and chaos work, thanks to a little butterfly.
P.S.: Being honest, I’ve never heard it being played or sang in “The Emeral Isle”. I discovered it by chance, while I was looking for the cover that Cristina Milioti played in “HIMYM” of “La vie en rose” (a great song from Édith Piaf, with two great covers, one played by Louis Armstrong and the other by Milioti).