Monday, March 11, 2013

St. Patrick's Day in the Mawnin'

In 1945, when my mother, Etta Bower Davis, was thirty-five years old (and I was not yet two), she wrote a poem about St. Patrick's Day that was published in The Weekly Underwriter, an insurance newspaper based in New York City. No doubt, my grandfather, Stan Bower, encouraged my mother to submit her poem as he was an insurance agent in lower Manhattan.

That's me and my parents--Franklin and Etta Davis--and Nunzie, my grandparents' dog.

St. Patrick’s Day in the Mawnin’

“Maggie!  Git out me high silk hat
          ‘Tis St. Patrick’s Day in the mawnin’,
Brush off me clothes and lay them out,
     For I’ll be off at dawnin’.

‘Tis a long, long walk in this parade,
          And I’ll be carryin’ the flag-stick,
‘Tis jealous I am of ould Pat Flynn—
          He’ll be ridin’ a horse for St. Patrick.

Tonight when you go to bed, my dear, 
          Pray to the Lord for a clear day.
Faith, ‘tis rubbers that hurt me corns, dear,
          And I see we’re all out of ‘Blue Jay’.

It makes me burnin’, fightin’ mad—
          As mad as an outraged lion,
To get halfway through in the parade
          And have rain spoil me new shine.

And while yur at it, Maggie dear,
          Me green tie I’d like to be wearin’,
Me green sash, wing collar and all the rest
          Must be ready or I’ll be swearin’.

Cassidy’s men will be playin’ their best
          As we march to the tune of “Killarney’,
And St. Patrick will smile as he watches the byes and
          Hears the folks hand out their blarney.

Oh yes—I musn’t forgit me pipe,
          I’ll be lost without that an’ be sorrowin’
And I’ll have a laff on O’Toole and O’Shea,
          They’ll forgit theirs and have to be borrowin’.

So, Maggie, brush up me high silk hat
          ‘Tis St. Patrick’s Day in the Mawnin’,
And begorry you must be proud of your Mike
          When he goes off to parade at dawnin’.”

                                      ETTA BOWER DAVIS
Leonia, N.J., March 17, 1945

I had no idea what Blue Jay was so found this ad in the May 7, 1945 issue of Life magazine. "Only New Blue Jay has war-proved Nupercaine. Try it today for relief you've never known before!"

Copyright Barbara Schaffer, 2013

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