Sheilagh’s Brush Came Early!

Looks Like St. Patrick was out on George Street last night. Sheilagh's brush is a day early.

Looks Like St. Patrick was out on George Street last night. Sheilagh’s brush is a day early.

In times gone by when on the banks the fish were not so few
Irish lads they left their home those fishing ships they went to crew.
And when at last the holds were full and ships came to St. John’s
the boys felt at home so played and drank until their money was all gone.

Now broke again and not able to afford passage back to Ireland grand
so it came that, one by one, the Irish invaded this Newfoundland.
Now St. Paddy knows his far-flung folk and visits often enough
not just to keep an eye on them but to have a jar, a scoff and a scuff.

Especially on the seventeenth he always finishes his day
with his kinfolk down in Newfoundland—they know how to play.
And so when next day dawns and Paddy strolls home sister Sheilagh meets him coming in
mad as all she takes her brush, hits him saying “I told you that’s a sin!”

And the flakes falling from Paddy’s head fall to earth as snow, a rush!
A winter storm after Paddy’s day we know as Sheilagh’s Brush.
But now this year, as it often does, a weekday is the special day
so Paddy went for a Sunday stroll through the George Street Bars to play.

Now for a change he’s come back home one day before his norm
since last night the snow was falling; outside the drifts they form.
But fear you not; he’s not done yet, and I figure he’ll go out again this eve
and Sheilagh’s brush will be felt again before winter takes its leave.

Notes: Banks: the Grand Banks, the sub-sea continental shelf off the coast of Newfoundland; traditionally excellent fishing grounds, now host to a flourishing oil & gas industry, Jar: any alcoholic drink, Scoff: a good meal, Scuff: a dance, George Street: small street in downtown St. John’s known for its colourful night-life.


About Maurice A. Barry

Coordinator: Teaching and Learning Commons, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Parent & Husband. eLearning consultant/coordinator. Program Development Specialist - eLearning (Department of Education; Retired). Writer: over 40 Math/Physics texts/webs. Developer & Manager of web content. Geek. Not into awards but loves comments.
This entry was posted in Entertainment, Newfoundland and Labrador, poetry/songs, Society and Culture and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Sheilagh’s Brush Came Early!

  1. momshieb says:

    Never heard of “Sheilagh’s Brush”, but we are expecting one on Tuesday…!
    Happy St. Patrick’s day to you and yours!

  2. Cathy says:

    Not a trace of the white stuff when we walked that way in September 2010! George Street at 11am is certainly quite different to George Street at 10 pm lol. Hope to visit again some time (in sunshine – not to experience ‘Sheilagh’s Brush’
    And just to show how fickle Mother Nature can be, after the months of hot days and nights, St Pat’s Day (yesterday) was the coldest day for the year here in Melbourne.
    Take care

  3. Jane Fritz says:

    We’ve always just called it the St. Paddy’s Day storm. Clearly no poetry in our souls here on the mainland. Excellent poetry to go along with your more poetic term of “endearment” for the never-failing unwelcome mid-March snow! Thanks for sharing, Maurice.

  4. Ha! OMG (as the kids would say) Sheilagh comes full circle. The light comes on! You mentioned Sheilagh’s Brush the other day in one of your responses to a post of mine … didn’t know what the heck you were talking about … and was too stupid to inquire! Now I know! Yes … we learn something new every day. Now I can go ahead to refer to crazy, and mostly unanticipated, spring snows as Sheilagh’s Brush. We had a little ewe lamb born yesterday … perhaps we’ll name her Sheilagh? Silly question … did you compose the poem? It’s nice – I like it. D

  5. lanapenny says:

    Never heard of Sheilagh until I came here, Maurice…thou you’re very poetic I wish I still hadn’t! Happy spring!

  6. SJ O'Hart says:

    This is fantastic! 😀 I didn’t know Paddy had a sister. I’m glad she shook her brush over Canada and not poor ol’ Ireland… 🙂

  7. Sam Boswell says:

    Sheila/ Sheela Na Gig is renowned in Ireland; even PJ Harvey sings about her! See also Seamus Heaney. Thanks for sharing your interpretation.

  8. Pingback: Of names and naming | Welcome to Pairodox Farm

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