The sea and I, song / Brian O’ Rourke, singing in English

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Eighteen Irish counties touch the sea
And them eighteen are touched by thirteen more
The dry one left is one that touches me
It’s the one I’m proud to call my native shore.

Yet I can speak with some authority
On matters watery and piscatorial
In a moses basket parked beside the sea
I acquired the second nature aquatorial.

We drove down to me grannies every august
And me ma could sniff the salt at thirty miles
The sea near grannies house was friggin’ ginormous
And it promised great adventures to a child.

So I swam to Spain and back and never drownded
And I brought a gang of pirates back alive
A mermaid wrapped her fishy bit around me
And I never cried ‘cause I was nearly five.

On our way to grannies once we had a picnic
Beside a wall somewhere in Tipperary
Our banana skins were still there black and magic
When we returned weeks later from sea faring.

Now I had to mention this event somewhere
Even though it says frig all about the sea
For them black banana skins made me aware
Of and time and space and the universe and me.

I remember an excursion to Tramore
When me brother and meself got sixpence each
The shops stocked Cowboy suits and guns galore
Financially beyond our modest reach.

So we bought a black and silver rubber dagger
And a two piece cardboard model airplane
And our parents called us wasteful little shaggers
To throw all our hard earned money down the drain.

We moved to Galway and I fished for mackerel
But supply outstripped demand so I soon quit
And because I loved the sea I found it natural
To exploit the periwinkles for a bit.

Every morning a half stone of them I’d pick
Then I’d head for Merchant’s Road in mild euphoria
In Gibbons' I’d get me one and six
For the flicks and a few fags in the Astoria.

At fifteen years I feared all female kind
But a tomtom thumped the tango in me glands
So one day I skipped me dinner and a grind
Just to watch a goddess stretched out on the strand.

Well I watched her while the sun shone making hay
I watched her bake her belly and her back
I watched the sun go down on Galway bay
Oh I watched her body and my soul turned black.

Now I’ve traveled thought this land from Y to Z
And me wanderings brought me wisdom and a stoop
I’ve learned form some of Ireland’s finest heads
The like of Malin Mizen Helvic Howth and Loop.

And I’ve sailed to many fair and far famed island
The Blaskets Boffin Aran Ireland’s Eye
Now I’m told ‘tis just as beautiful in Thailand
Why wouldn’t it isn’t it under the same sky.

Now I’ve settled down a stone’s throw from the sea
Oh yes I know its only Lough Atalia
Ah but even though its waves are weak and wee
Its one water all the way to South Australia.

And when the wind gets up and misbehaves
I look out from the comfort of my home
What is the waves I ask what is the waves
What is the foam ah yes what is the foam.

When I moved in I was a […] man
And I tramped the shoreline daily seeking hope
I watched the water infiltrate the land
And in my mind all kinds of stuff came up.

So I told me shrink the sea and my unconscious
Were working hand in glove and wasn’t that fabulous
Well he looked at me a while he pulled no punches
He said tell me now have you taken all your tablets.

Because it’s cluttered up with shapely stones
Lugged home from every beach around the coast
Their order free they lie were they are thrown
They don’t talk back or ask or tea and toast.

And I’ve a dirty oar a gift form sea and storm
It pines for surf and tide but not for person
It symbolises my persistant form
Rowing and rowing and going around in circles.

I was born and reared beside the cemetery
And I’ve had graveyards for neighbours ever since
But why should I buy a plot that’s cold and scary
When an oven only costs a few more pence.

So when it’s time to torch and scorch and scrap me
Just lay me down on lovely Lough Atalia
The wind will kiss my ash the waves will lap me
And wash me all the way to sweet Mongolia.

They’ll wash me all the way to sweet Mongolia.

The sea and I, song / Brian O’ Rourke, singing in English
ITMA Reference Number:677-NC-V8
Main Performer: Brian O’Rourke
Title:The sea and I [videorecording] / Brian O' Rourke, singing in English
Subject:Ireland: Singing in English
Corporate Author:Inishowen Traditional Singers' Circle
Recording Location:Ballyliffin Hotel, Ballyliffin, Co Donegal
Recording Date:22 March 1997
Collection:Jimmy McBride Collection
Physical Description:1 computer file (MPEG-4, 8 min. 39 sec.) :digital, stereo
Copyright:Performer and Inishowen Traditional Singers' Circle

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