Turn ye to me

Turn Ye to Me

The stars are burning cheerily, cheerily
Ho-ro Mhai-ri-dhu, turn ye to me
The seamew is moaning drearily, drearily
Ho-ro Mhai-ri-dhu, turn ye to me
Cold is the stormwind that ruffles his breast
But warm are the downy plumes lining his nest
Cold blows the storm there, soft falls the snow there
Ho-ro Mhai-ri-dhu, turn ye to me.

The waves are dancing merrily, merrily
Ho-ro Mhai-ri-dhu, turn ye to me
The seabirds are wailing wearily, wearily
Ho-ro Mhai-ri-dhu, turn ye to me
Hushed be thy moaning, lone bird of the sea
Thy home on the rocks is a shelter to thee
Thy house the angry wave, mine but the lonely grave
Ho-ro Mhai-ri-dhu, turn ye to me.

(Words by Christopher North in 1816. Tune ancient).

I talked about learning this song before, but seeing that I’ve been going down memory lane vis-à-vis Swiss and German songs, I shall place it here. This song was taught to me by Sr. Fabian in Goldenbridge. She was a fluent Irish speaker from the Gaeltacht area of Donegal. I know that it’ll trigger off memories to those survivors who were in the same choir. I think it was the one and only time I recall ever getting praise. Well, the choir got praise. The song has always haunted me throughout my life. I could just rock backwards and forwards and sing it to myself and tears of sadness for an intense loss would overcome me. I remember Sr. Fabian telling me when I returned to Goldenbridge after finding my maternal side of the family that I’d pined my life away at Goldenbridge. She was so right in her summation. I never felt part of a crowd. I always felt excluded. I see patterns of the same old behaviour reemerging with any new people I meet. I could be in their midst for years on end and still feel a total loner. On the outside looking in as per usual!

Ho-ro Mhai-ri-dhu, was pronounced differently by Sister Fabian, I remember o ro “mh” having a “v” sound and the “dh” having a “g” sound. I know that Scottish Gaelic is different to Irish Gaelic and even in Donegal they’ve got their own unique dialect, which I incidentally really love the sound. For example, one has only to listen to Skara Brae.

I remember too ‘the stars are shining as opposed to burning.”


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