I’m thinking of a poem that Johnny recalls studying back in school days. He can’t remember his age or grade, but he harks back to the details of the storyline impeccably upon my mention of our found crystal ball/glass fishing buoy.
The poem tells a tale of the unfulfilled hope for a special something to happen in one’s life.
Although my above photo and haiku share the same ending as Johnny’s poem (finding the glass ball), his poem, fittingly entitled ‘Disappointment’, does not end with my same appreciative feelings of happiness and good fortune upon the discovery.
The poem was written in Irish by native Aran poet and writer Máirtín Ó Direáin (1910-88) in the year 1949. Much of his writing undoubtedly is rooted in his Aran upbringing. Unrelated, but noteworthy, he attended the same school which my children now attend.
I found his book that contained the poem at the local leabharlann in a book of poetry simply titled Dánta (Poems) 1939-1979, and Johnny translated it for me. It rings of not only another era, but of another culture. 1940’s. In Ireland. On an island.
I never got a toirtín∗
That would delight the day,
Like being first to see a newborn lamb
Not yet licked by its mother.
I never looted a bird’s nest
And I’m not boasting;
I never caught a cliff bird
Because I never went after it:
But I saw a wonder one day
On the waves edge close to the shore,
That was sparkling under the bright sun
And my heart jumped with happiness,
But when I reached the tide’s edge
What would I get before me
But a clear glass ball
That kept nets afloat.
∗a tart, in this case received as reward for being first to experience something
Ní bhfuair mé riamh toirtín
A chuir gliondar ar an lán,
Uainín fann gan éitir,
Gan é lite ag a mháthair,
Níor shlad mé riamh nead éin
Is ní le gaisce atáim á rá;
Níor rug mé ar éan aille
Mar nach ndeachaigh mé ina ghábh:
Ach chonaic mé an t-iontas lá
Ag ciumhais na dtonn cois trá,
É ag spréacharnaigh faoin ngréin ghil
Is léim mo chroí le háthas,
Ach nuair a shroicheas taoby na taoille
Céard a gheobhainn romham ann
Ach liathróid gheal ghloine
A choinniodh líonta ar shámh.
Our white ‘crystal ball’ fishing float has retired its sea legs and is living a second life as garden art, pictured above, and the green ball below belongs to Margaret Maeve and joins other trove in her bedroom. The first picture is where I’d like it to sit. The second is where it actually sits.
The “surge of happiness” after finding his own ball, expressed by Tom Rizzo in the first paragraph of this article on The Glass Museum website, leads to a most comprehensive, colourful, and interesting piece of writing by him on the glass fishing float.
Considering the contrast in views on happiness under near same circumstances, the expressions ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ and ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ come to mind. But I don’t want to ramble on about the what, where, when, why, and how of happiness, only the who. And that is you, and me, and each thinking individual.
In times of disappointment, frustration, and upset, I like to remind the children that there is always something to be grateful for. The opposite also holds true; something can always be found to criticize, grumble, fault find, doubt, and dwell in self-pity over. In moments of upset we talk about the emotional options available and how acceptable each is under the circumstances, meaning, do they benefit the situation and will it help them return to happiness? It usually doesn’t take them very long to come back around to their usual joyful disposition.
Moral of the story… if you want to be happy then be happy, no one can stop you but you!