The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.
— Hawaii state motto.
Let us look at some pre-dark-ages immigration analogies from the fifth century to the current Trump-caused mess. Thomas Cahill, in his fascinating book, How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe, writes: “To the Romans, the German tribes were riffraff; to the Germans, the Roman side of the river was the place to be. The nearest we can come to understanding this divide may be the spit-and-polish troops are immigration police; the Germanic hordes are the Mexicans, Haitians, and other dispossessed peoples seeking illegal entry.”
Our current immigration woes are one thing; let us examine another cultural divide. “Looking back from the great civilizations of the twelve-century France or seventh-century Rome, it is hard to believe that for quite a long time — almost a hundred years — Christianity survived by clinging to lonely, isolated places along the Irish coast.”
One of my clumsy poesy (cum history notes) efforts follows:
Voice of the Irish
Once in a land outside of time
Irish warriors attacked their foes
Nude but for sandals, sword and shield,
Howling as demons, urged by skirls.
A third-rate country on the edge of Europe,
Murderously dispatching prisoners of war
Until St. Patrick opined, “Not necessary,
Lord Jesus Christ has taken care of all that.”
Visited by neither Renaissance nor Enlightenment,
This tribe of Celtic/Catholic monks
Transmuted pagan loyalty, courage, generosity
Into Christian faith, hope, charity.
The fleetingness of life was known:
How pointless to hold on to things or thoughts
When one can choose the wondrous deed,
The heroic gesture, the greatest act.
All truths are only our truths because
We bring to them our dreams and wishes:
We merge our myths with facts
According to our feelings.
This poem is dedicated to Owen Morgan Slain, born June 22, 2013, a true Irish lad.
Note to poem.
In the Western world the antiquity of Irish lineages is exceeded only by that of the Jews.
Quotes re poem.
“The Irish are the only people who cannot be helped by psychoanalysis.” -– Freud.
“To be Irish is to know that in the end the world will break your heart.” –- Anonymous.
“The Irish hate our order, our civilization, our enterprising industry. This wild, reckless, indolent, uncertain race shows no sympathy with the English character.” — Disraeli
Back to Kauai: Whatever happened to sugar cane? People once believed Hawaii has the ideal climate for sugar cane because it is sunny and warm without being uncomfortably hot. Plus the islands are in a trade wind zone where winds blow much of the time from northeast to southwest. These trade winds, which pick up moisture as they travel over the ocean, hit their first land in thousands of miles when they reach Hawaii. So cool to think about that! Hawaii supplied about one-tenth of the sugar used in the United States back in 1980. Nowadays, ah dona know.
Here are two of my favorite quotes, having nothing to do with Kauai’s variously challenged carrying capacities. I just want to share. You have probably seen the first one before.
“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; there we must be saved by love.”
— Reinhold Niebuhr.
“Friendship is the shadow of the evening, which strengthens with the setting sun of life.”
— La Fontaine.
Finally, as a child guru in Kathmandu once chanted on the roof of the Monkey Temple near the city’s river to a group German and French backpackers (plus me) all holding hands in a circle, after acknowledging the huge suffering of so much of mankind, here is what he urged us to keep in mind:
“Acknowledge all the suffering of so many others, but remember to enjoy your precious, precious lives and to beeeeeeee happy.”
Douglas Slain is a retired law publisher. He holds a master’s degree from the Social Thought Committee at the University of Chicago and a juris doctorate from Stanford Law School, where he taught as n adjunct clinical law professor. He is a Kapaa resident. His audio books are available at audible.com.