Here is a poem I wrote to go with a piece on my yellow bicycle blog, about how it became fashionable for Victorian artists to romanticise the west of Ireland and the women in their red petticoats.
It is a poem that is simple to recite, with a story to tell, a poem that I could put a tune to if the humor took me.
A ballad really.
(it actually goes well sung slowly to the tune of ‘The parting glass’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chOiVoScz8A Go on, try it yourself and you’ll see, but I will find an original tune for it)
Oh Weaver weft me a piece of cloth,
of your finest cotton,
for linen is harder to dye they say
and I wish to dye it purple.
Oh Dyster dye my piece of cloth
But do not use the madder*
For I wish not to wear a petticoat red
but one the color of heather.
Oh Seamstress sow me a petticoat
from the cloth I have you handed,
and stitch in each pleat, the morning light
and I will surely wear it.
Oh Poet pen me a simple song
of the purple skirt I have round me,
and weave through each fold a story of love
and I will softly sing it.
Oh Artist paint in my petticoat
not in red or blue or yellow,
but paint it in a purple hue
the color of the heather.
So he painted her skirt in a purple hue,
then kissed it’s hem most dearly
and she smiled and turned with her sleán* in hand
and went into the morning early.
photo credit to http://www.nutan.ie/ireland
*madder: a plant whose roots were used to dye clothe red.
*sleán: a tradional tool for cutting the turf