On Terence Winch’s birthday
is not it beautiful? Painting by Johann Zoffany
a production of Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist, 1770,
and Terence sent me the picture to accompany
the note he writes every Sunday to introduce her
his pick of the week to a select group of smart
and discerning readers, another note
every Sunday with a different picture
as compelling as this one, so I’ll start with that
in anticipation of November 1st, his birthday,
(and those of Glen Terence Hartley, agent of Astrophil and Stella).
Anticipation can combine celebration and collaboration
So I ask the man himself for ideas like Samhain,
which, he explains, is pronounced “sow”. [rhymes with “now”]
Ok Terence. take it away – DL
What is Samhain?
The ancient Celts believed the year was divided into two parts, the lighter half in summer and the darker half in winter. Samhain was the division between those halves – the end of the harvest and the time when the veil between our world of the living and the world of the dead was thinnest.
Oíche Shamhna (October 31st) is Halloween and Lá na Marbh (November 1st) is Day of the Dead or All Saints Day, when the deceased are commemorated.
An Irish Halloween Blessing
On All Hallow’s Tide, may God bless you
Of goblins and pookas and black hearted strangers
From harm of water and harm of fire,
From thorns of the brush, from all other dangers,
From Will O’ The Wisp haunting the swamp;
Of trips and falls and cheaters to annoy you
May God in His mercy protect you this week.