Saturday, August 5, 2017


May 4, 2014
From Jack Quinn
To: Barbara Malley
Hello again!
      I can hardly believe I only found your response to my note of 16 July 2013 today, almost 10 months after receiving it.
      Shortly after I contacted you, I went travelling in Europe and changed over to a Mac having used PCs for 25 years.  I managed, while on that steep learning curve, to inadvertently delete lots of my emails, contacts and bookmarks, one of which was your blog.  I got it back today when I performed another Google search on “The Tippler” and there it was on 16 July 2013.  And now, although outrageously late, I thank you for your very prompt reply.  I do hope you will forgive me for not getting back to you before this and allow me to press the reset button.
      I am hugely delighted on two counts.  Firstly because at last I know the name of the author of that charming little poem I committed to memory sixty-one years ago, and secondly that the author was your mother, Ernestine Cobern Beyer.  How amazing is that?  It was well worth the wait.
      It is fortuitous and entirely appropriate that we reconnect during Bealtine, the ancient Irish name for the month of May during which the month-long Bealtaine festival celebrates arts, creativity and culture in older age. The festival is coordinated by Age & Opportunity, the national organisation that inspires everyone to reach their full potential as they age.  You can it find here:
      I also found the Boston Globe’s report on your 90th birthday celebration. You are some gal,  if I may say so.  But I’m not all that surprised after reading your mother’s page on Wikipedia. It’s in the genes.
     Every good wish and reiterated apologies for the delay in getting back to you.

May 22, 2014
     Are you okay?  I do hope all is well with you.
     Or was it something I said?  Or was my blog too racy for your taste? J
Just wondering. . . .
From: Jack Quinn
May 22, 2014
Hi Barbara,
Yes, indeed, I'm okay. All's well here on this side of the Atlantic but I've had a hectic few days staying with friends and no access to my computer.
Your blog was not at all too racy for taste. Quite the contrary, I can assure you! I share your views on so many counts. I'm gradually catching up with your blog, reading a page or two every time I log on but it will take me a while as there's such a lot there! I'm so glad to have re-established contact with you. 
I trust you are in good fettle too. Stay well my new found friend,
May 22, 2014
That’s a relief, Jack!  There is indeed a lot in my blog– 527 posts, averaging at least 10 pages, so I won’t expect to hear from you day after tomorrow.
Yes, I’m in very fine fettle, just played a game of social bridge and collected $3 as high scorer.  I much prefer duplicate bridge, where you compete against all the other East-Wests or North-Souths and it isn’t a matter of pure luck if you do well.
Cheers, dear new found friend and view sharer!
May 24, 2014
To Jack Quinn
Hi Jack, 
     I would  love to see our exchange of July 2013 if you can forward it easily.  Among the zillion things I’ve forgotten is what our connection was and who first contacted whom about what.
     Whatever the answer, I’m delighted to hear from you again.
May 24, 2014
From Jack Quinn
Hi Barbara,
     Our first contact in July 2013 is still on one of your blog pages, at least it was the last time I looked. Just in case, here it is again.
July 16, 2013 
Hello Barbara,
     Greetings from Ireland! Imagine my amazement when I found that delightful little verse,"The Tippler" on your blog page. Sixty years ago when I was about fifteen, I was hugely privileged when a sweet girl, also fifteen, shyly showed me the poem she had copied into her journal, which she had never, ever, shown to anyone else. I liked "The Tippler" then and still do now.
     Ever since, I've been trying to find out who wrote it. From time to time I tried various search engines without success - until today. I got just one positive result from my latest Google search and that directed me to your blog. And there it was. I wonder if you know who is the author or must it still be credited to "Anonymous"?
     My compliments to you on the contents of your blog. I think it is quite special.
July 16, 2013
From Barbara Malley  
Hi there Jack Quinn,
     It was a big thrill to get your message all the way from Ireland. Posts about my mother, Ernestine Cobern Beyer, are listed to the right of my blog: Fables According to Ernestine, Playful Poems for Children, Pleasing Poems for Adults.  An account of her life, My Opera Star Mom, is also there.  
     Then there's the saga about my activity book, Poetry with a Purpose, which is available on Amazon. If you ever want to buy a book or any other Amazon product, I would be grateful if you would access Amazon on my daughter Kathie's worthwhile blog
Happily yours,
Barbara Malley (Irish by marriage)
May 24, 2014
From Jack Quinn
     I've been working my way through your blog slowly but surely over the last few days. Some of it refers to the time before I was born; after all I'm a mere stripling of 76 years! It is a valuable historical document of not only family life, but also of the time it covers. 
     I will be out of digital circulation for the next ten days as I'm heading off to Clare Island, County Mayo for some hill-walking with Ireland's oldest hill-walking club called the Brothers of the Lug. The aforementioned Lug is an affectionate name for Lugnaquillia, the highest mountain in the province of Leinster near Dublin on the east coast of Ireland, which we climb every year. The members are a bunch of older guys like myself so we won't be under too much pressure. 
Take good care of yourself,
May 24, 2014
From Jack Quinn
Hello Kathie and Barbara,  
     Nice to meet you, Kathie, having already read about you in your mother's blog. I also have to tell you I recited your grandmother's little verse The Tippler to the owner of an apiary in Melbourne, Australia when I was there some years ago. She loved it so much that she insisted I write it in their Visitors' Book.  How about that for the ripple effect of two teenagers sharing confidences all those years ago? You may, or may not, know that bees also figure in W B Yeats's poem, The Lake Isle of Inishfree which he wrote in 1892. 

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, 
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; 
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, 
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; 
There midnight's all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow, 
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day 
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; 
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray, 
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

Must sign off now and pack my rucksack for the Clare Island trip.
Best wishes to you both,
May 24, 2014
From Kathie  
     Great to meet you, Jack.
     I absolutely love that poem. Would you be willing to submit it as a comment to my post on predators []?
     I focus on the birds rather than the bees in that post, but we do have three honeybee hives in our yard.  My feelings about all the wildlife in our yard seem to me an echo of Yeat’s feelings. 
     Or, would you give me permission to submit it as a comment for you in your name or whatever name you would like to use?
     I know many of my readers would love it too.
     Thank you for emailing me and considering this request, and most of all -- Enjoy your trip.  Kathie
May 24, 2014
To Kathie     
     The ripple effect rolls onward elegantly and awesomely.  Jack has all the desirable qualities of a special friend, does he not?  How super it will be if he appears in your post on predators.
Love,  Mom
From Kathie's blog [
     There is another definition of predator that does not apply to the creatures playing an essential role in our ecosystem. The other definition is “a person who looks for other people in order to use, control, or harm them in some way.” Synonyms and related words include bloodsucker, exploiter, destroyer, and leech.
     Those kinds of predators–a subspecies of homo sapiens–are a threat to the balance of nature and to the survival of their own and other species. They don’t kill to eat. They kill to feed an insatiable blood lust; they glory in killing the last surviving members of other species. They rush to frack land that is not in their backyard. They lie about global warming because they dream of an iceless arctic where they can get more oil, oil, oil. They sell weapons to anyone. What do they care if children of a U.S. ghetto, let alone “foreigners” with different religions and different color skins, kill each other?
     Thankfully, there are a lot fewer human predators than there are people who love this land and seek peace and social justice for all. We who are opposed to human predators must recognize how much stronger and louder our voices could be if we united.

May 25, 2014
From Jack Quinn  
To Kathie
Subject: Tense wait for Ukraine
May 25, 2014
From Kathie
To Jack Quinn
Subject: RE: Tense wait for Ukraine     
     Great article, Jack.
     And what a treat to see the photo of your son and learn a bit more about him.
     You're right. we are definitely on the same page.  A good place to be.
Best regards
May 19, 2015
Well now Barbara,
     I think you will get a great kick out of this. Last week in Dublin I had lunch with the girl (now in her seventies) who showed me The Tippler in her autograph book over sixty years ago. She and her brother are my oldest and dearest friends.
     You can imagine her delight when I told her that it was your own dear mother, Ernestine, who was the author. Over lunch both of us recited the verse simultaneously word for word. I printed off Ernestine’s page in Wikipedia together with pages from your blog and bits of our emails and posted them to her today. She wanted the full provenance of the poem. So we have come full circle. Alas, neither she or her brother are computer literate so therefore no email either.
     I trust you are in fine health and keeping busy. Last year in May I headed to Clare Island, the seat of the O’Malley clan in Mayo, for a few days hiking with my hill walking brethren and tomorrow I go to Achill, another island in Mayo, for more of the same.
Warm regards to you, Barbara, and your daughter Kathie,

The poem that led Jack Quinn to Tears and laughter at 90. . .

The Tippler
  From the clover's convivial cavern
There issues a jovial hum
Where the bee in his velveteen tavern
Is quaffing his redolent rum.
Then tipsy with essence ecstatic
Distilled in the summery dawn,
Off on an errand erratic
                                  He reels to his wings and is gone!                                        
                                                                              Ernestine Cobern Beyer        

No comments:

Post a Comment