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Forty Shades Of Green And It’s Always Greener On St. Patrick’s Day



Saint Patrick’s Day has always been very special for me.

It is the one time of the year that Bob always told the staff, of the Queen of Hearts, to hide my keys until he got to work and is the one day he will put up with my “tom foolery.”

My Great Granddad ran away from Southern Ireland, because for generations the eldest son in the Hand family, usually named John, always became a priest. He wasn’t going to have anything to do with that and he ran away to Liverpool, England, and married a Scottish Presbyterian.

Guess he got even! I was told by Mom that my rebellious nature, spiritual leanings and seeker of the “dream” comes from him, tho I’m sure that it found it’s beginnings back in some sort of ancient gray/blue mystic haze.

The Hand family, along with the Kellys on the other side of the family tree, go far back in Irish history. You can find them in Rosco Commons, County Wicklow and County Meath, even part of the Ulster flag has the Hand symbol as one of it’s four parts.

My “Mum” use to tell me that my love for the sound of words and music was because of my Irish blood and heart. She even mentioned that the aroma of peat smoke and the crackling hearth fires, which I have always found stirred my imagination, was from a primeval memory of some distant past.

Back in 1969 I was visiting friends and family in Ireland and on the last night before coming back to the “States” we gathered in a “pub” for a pint or two, ok maybe more but who was counting.

With the fire crackling in the hearth and the evening mist of that January night attacking the window panes, someone found their way to the piano and began to play.

“Oh all the comrades that ere’ I had, are sorry for my goin’ away. And all the sweethearts that ere’ I had, wish me one more day to stay. But since it falls unto my lot, that I should rise and you should not. I’ll gentle rise and softly call, good night and joy be with you all.”

Not a dry eye in the pub could be found.

With both the Green and Orange running through “me” soul, I’ll share with you a poem I wrote many, many years ago. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!


When I was a bit of a boy
I’d sit on Daddy’s knee
And ask great questions.
Where is the end of the rainbow?
Is there a pot of gold?
And do the wee people really exist?
But most of all I wondered
What has happened to the magical beasties
Of our hearts and minds?
Those horn’d little steeds
Belongin’ to another age,
Lost to us since the flood
But ever present in our thoughts,
Where have they gone?
Hushed forever are the echoes of the piper
Playin’ beneath the moon
As unicorns dance.
No more do great hunters watch in awe
As herds pass by
In silent run.
No more the fair maidens
Do they charm,
Or graze in woodland glades
With peace and calm.
Where hides this creature
That mere thought gives us smile?
Are they gone for good
Or only in a child’s mind?
Daddy listen!
I hear brayin’ in the wind,
But Daddy’s gone
And I still search for the unicorn.

*You can read all of Tristan’s 50 years of poetry on line: All Alone in a Crowd.

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