Pubs Can Be Green


(Photo from Dick Mack’s Pub in Dingle Town)

There are certain pop culture rituals that I enjoy about St. Patrick’s Day that have nothing to do with my pride of Irish lineage (mixed with other European roots). The rituals garnish my American need for anything that feels “Celtic”. Having visited Ireland with my best friend five or so years ago, I gained a deeper spiritual connection to myself, to God, and to my ancestry. As I learned about Celtic Spirituality, which was later customized to represent Christian Spirituality, I realized that many of the concepts—really, ways of life—fit into the natural connection to the Divine that I had as a child. One of the early Celtic Christian concepts included a belief that every child is born with the face of God upon her. The newborn child is never flawed, with much to regret before even figuring out how to say “ma-ma” or “da-da”. The freedom of playing with God without any hiding—without any agenda—is possible when I drink in the energy that dances through the green lands.

When I muse upon St. Patrick’s Day in America, I think about people in funny green outfits drinking Guinness, or Harp that has been transformed into a green punch by the miracle of food coloring. I think about the silliness of all of it, and it makes me smile. I think about people in plastic green necklaces or shamrock hats hanging out in pubs, talking, having a good drink and some food, and most importantly, havin’ a laugh. Even within the plastic-ness of the Americanized holiday, there is good old fashioned communion taking place among friends and a willingness to let down our guards for an hour or two.

My best friend and I ate 90% of our meals in pubs when we visited Ireland, and we found an authentic “you are in my kitchen and living room” kind of atmosphere everywhere we went. Even though we stuck out like sore thumbs as non-Irish visitors, we were welcomed by the people we met and the conversation was always easy. Being in those pubs or those green lands that are infused with Spirit, I was reminded of the connection I have with my own family and community and that I can be Irish in it with great authenticity any time I please.

I wrote the following poem on that trip to Ireland, during time spent in Dingle Town. The poem is also included in Chapter 11 of my new book, God Is Not a Bully, which focuses on my own Celtic Spirituality. Enjoy!


The Pub


banjo speaks robust triplets

crimson old buckets

dangle from Dingle ceilings

older than any relatives yet to be known.


musicians in sync

like a heartbeat

and cordial harmonic jazzercise

letting a yee haw

carry its connective tissue

to our honorary local status

quickly fizzing like grape poprocks


musicians in duet

whistle of anything that is yours

now and tomorrow

or even in a dream

of grass skirts

in a warmer climate


love of a wooden

mahogany bar

of toffee crunch

with wear-and-tear

that makes beauty

seem one syllable less

of its worth


silver masculine curls

under western brimmed

black velvet unbeckoning

a rumbly strummer

perfect like punctuality

in a creative way


beer bubbles inspire

heavy pen-glazed pages

a vacant extreme gratitude

like sheep sheered

from a heavy dandruff

in skin cell relief


carrot and dill

on brown bread

with cod and friendship

as the music begins again

white vinegar and pepper

ground like baby powder

among burnt orange walls

and a reel at the fireplace


humorous accounts

embellish gratitude

embossed by free-trade coffee beans

arriving off the harbor

a not instant-powder form

with the same magnitude

as a pint of stout


and the killer sheep of Ireland

remember their true loves

while a tried-true tune is gutturally placed

in the resonating mask

of heartful, calm waters

and a reminder of home

a Christmas to come

and a family still

making the same warmth

among their own tunes


and humor of

our changing lines

and ageless ceremony

that brings the great melodic chant

back into the aural soul

night into night


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