Quinquaginta Anni: Semper Fideles

Ah hesitate tae pen these lines

Aboot a Sligo chiel

In fragments o’ Auld Scotia’s tongues

An’ bon mots that are real.

Ah could hae imitated Yeats,

Or Heaney at his best

Tae catch the worth o’Canon Mick

Wi’ reverence an’ zest.

But fifty years hiv honed yer lugs

Tae understaun oor twang,

An’ while ye still cling tae yer brogue

In homily an’ sang,

It’s surely richt an’ fittin’ then

An’ no’ cause language strife

Tae laud ye in oor Lallans strains

The Canon o’ yer life.

Roon Gurteen in yer native sile

Ye heard that still, sma’ voice

Tae serve Oor Laird’s ain vinyerd ca’

An’ freely made yer choice

Tae undertak’ that Six Year Course

For Ordination’s goal,

Which nurtured Apostolic zeal

Tae face yer priestly role.

Yer sportin’ ties were empathised

In schitzophrenic codes;

Wi’ Gaelic an’ the soccer ba’

Divergent in their modes.

While physical an’ skilful traits

Combined tae hoist yer game

Abune yer close compatriots-

Drummed up yer Thurles fame.

Columba’s sea trip then ye made

Tae stoap here in EK,

When Lourdes became yer parish kirk

Tae start yer curacy.

Nae need tae catalogue yer deeds

O’ spiritual impress.

The Westwood-Murray pawky fowk

Wull spout their ain address.

Yet jist in case it’s slipped their minds -

In deference blanked it oot,

Yer penchant for the ton-up rip

Wis no’ ane that wis mute.

A clerical Hell’s-Angel tag

Is maybe aff the mark;

But in yer leather biker’s gear

Ye’d mony a scorchin’ lark.

His Lairdship then gied ye the ca’

Tae leave this toon ahint

An’ joumey roon the Diocese

Tae mak’ yer ain imprint

Oan different toons an’ parishishes,

Which Ah ken nought aboot;

So Ah’ll jist leave that interlude

For fowk that track yer route.

Back hame in East Kilbride again,

As PP in St Bride’s

Ye’ve earned a status recognised

That disnae change wi’ tides.

Yer leadership is firm an’ fair

An’ totally sincere;

Yer husbandry o’ parish coin

Wad mak’ Macawber cheer!

An avid reader is yer wont

O’ mony different scribes:

History, Culture, Literature

An’ factual diatribes.

Yer homilies reflect the depth

O’ knowledge ye hiv gleaned;

An’ allied tae their pastoral core

Are spiritual values weaned.

Noo fifty years ye’ve registered

In service selflessly

By carin’ for oor splintered needs,

Embracin’ nicht an’ day.

So Canon Ryan, Sligo’s chiel -

Adopted as oor ain,

Though Erin gifted ye tae us -

Its loss wis Scotia’s gain.

Written in celebration of the Golden Jubilee

of the Very Reverend Michael, Canon Ryan.

14 June 2009.

Neil Gill

(An English translation is available if required.)