What’s In A Name?

17 Feb

Six thirty am. on an overcast Bahrain Friday.  There’s a strong smell of the aftermath of last night’s unrest hanging in the atmosphere and as it’s the weekend I’m staying close to home.

However, already I’ve been on a long and emotional journey via the internet.

Last year I read ‘The Kite Runner’ and ‘ A Thousand Splendid Suns’.  I remember grappling with some of the names which were unfamiliar, such as Noor, Mariam and Muneera.  This year those lovely names have faces and personalities attached.  Having researched their etymology, it occured to me that registration each day is akin to a poetry recital.  Here’s a sample.

Aisha    alive

Daniyah    near

Fatimah    to abstain

Huda     right guidance

Jawahir   Jewels

Mariam   Biblical name

Basma  smile

Munira  shining / bright

Noor  light

Samia  supreme/sublime

Sarah   lady/princess

Not easy to live up to, but they try.

On a similar although completely different trail which lead to my emotional breakdown, I googled Kathleen, which I already know means pure, also not easy to live up to, but I try.  This, understandably, lead me to Kathleen mavourneen, a name often directed at me as a youngster in Liverpool.  I often wondered who she was.

However, it transpires that mavouneen is not actually a name, but a term of endearment, ‘beloved’, and that  ‘ Kathleen Mavourneen’  is an Irish ballad penned in the nineteenth century, when the Irish were tragically forced to leave their homeland in vast numbers due to the the famine. It became hugely popular, especially in America, amongst the Irish migrants.  If you are  interested,  here it is.  You may need a tissue …

1.
Kathleen mavourneen! the gray dawn is breaking,
The horn of the hunter is heard on the hill,
The lark from her light wing the bright dew is shaking,
Kathleen mavourneen, what slumbering still?

[CHORUS]
Oh! hast thou forgotten how soon we must sever?
Oh! hast thou forgotten this day we must part,
It may be for years, and it may be forever,
Oh! why art thou silent thou voice of my heart?
It may be for years, and it may be forever,
Then why art thou silent Kathleen mavourneen?

2.
Kathleen mavourneen, awake from thy slumbers,
The blue mountains glow in the sun’s golden light,
Ah! where is the spell that once hung on thy numbers,
Arise in thy beauty, Thou star of my night,
Arise in thy beauty, Thou star of my night.

[CHORUS]
Mavourneen, mavourneen, my sad tears are falling,
To think that from Erin and thee I must part,
It may be for years, and it may be forever,
Then why art thou silent, thou voice of my heart?
It may be for years, and it may be forever,
Then why art thou silent, thou voice of my heart?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqdOyI7N56I&feature=related

 

It must be time to reach for a Yorkshire tea bag, having spanned the oceans from Afghanistan to Bahrain and Ireland to America.  Internet travel can be thirsty work.

2 Responses to “What’s In A Name?”

  1. Pat February 17, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    Thirsty work indeed and tiring …….love this piece xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: