A Return To Bonny Portmore

Songs from the Emerald Isle reach to the night sky and capture melodies from the cosmic oceans. These melodies enrobe the listener with magic touches of stardust and history as rich in color as the Isle itself.

These ancient songs, these stories, draw the attentive listener to the worlds of the past which now exist in legends and myths. In our sterile reality these worlds may be no more, but they exist in the past, the heritage of a people who refuse to allow them to suffer the same tragic fate of a reality lost in the bog mists of moonless nights.

Bonny Portmore is a haunting song about what was and what was lost. This Irish folksong tells the sad tale of a forest in Portmore which grew after the Great Deluge.

In the midst of this ancient oak forest grew a special tree called The Great Oak. This tree stood the tests of the natural cycles. Birds and insects found a habitat.

The villagers came to admire the magnificent oak. Many a young man and his lady fair would have their first kiss under its spreading arms.

The royals from Portmore Castle would ride their equine wonders and rest from the summer sun in the oak’s shade. There merriment was proffered and embraced by those noble women and their escorts.

Alas, so many times life ceases, be it human, fauna or flora. The Great Oak survived many a storm, but the great storms of 1760 proved that life on this planet traversing the cosmos is transient, like the morning fog rising from a serene lough.

So the mighty oak fell to the forest ground. If trees in myths and legends are living beings, I am sure they paid tribute to the aged one in their midst.

The Great Oak’s fate was not to lie on the verdant floor and decay like its brothers and sisters. The hands of humans found ways to utilize the wonder of the forest.

Wood from the tree was used to build mighty sailing ships, huts for the villagers, firewood for the hearth, perhaps a table or chair. It is said that trees, especially old trees, have absorbed the melodies of life as they grew.

Birds released their warbles. Insects gave their hum of life. Humans played at the base and in the boughs with their romantic songs and playful tunes.

Troubadours wandered and sang their songs in the forests. The forest songs of the past can be heard faintly on the night winds in the mountain hamlets and vales.

Bonny Portmore was made famous in the Highlander III movie and television series. The song is a bridge to the past where myths and legends coalesce into a reality which one day we may see when the bog mists have lifted, and day embraces the pristine land once more.

G. D. Williams © 2014

POST 551

Bonny Portmore

O, bonny Portmore, you shine where you stand
And the more I think on you, the more I think long

If I had you now as I had once before
All the lords in Old England would not purchase Portmore
O, bonny Portmore, I am sorry to see
Such a woeful destruction of your ornament tree

For it stood on your shore, for many’s the long day
Till the long boats from Antrim came to float it away
O, bonny Portmore, you shine where you stand
And the more I think on you the more I think long

If I had you now as I had once before
All the Lords in Old England would not purchase Portmore

All the birds in the forest they bitterly weep
Saying, “Where will we shelter or where will we sleep?”
For the Oak and the Ash, they are all cutten down
And the walls of bonny Portmore are all down to the ground

O, bonny Portmore, you shine where you stand
And the more I think on you, the more I think long

If I had you now as I had once before
All the Lords of Old England would not purchase Portmore

 

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