A world in need of Irish wit and wisdom

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With the world full of angst and disruption — with so many people filled with anger and hate — I can’t think of a better time to embrace the Irish spirit.

So let me share some of Ireland’s most enjoyable blessings, proverbs and quotes, as gathered by IrishCentral.

This blessing is a good place to start:

May you have warm words on a cold evening,

a full moon on a dark night,

and the road downhill all the way to your door. 

I wish everyone could enjoy warm words on a cold night and an easy, well-lighted walk home, but too many of our fellow human beings are facing incredible burdens and challenges.

The besieged people of Ukraine have experienced far too much war in their long history, and we are all praying that the horrific bloodshed taking place right now ends immediately — but Putin’s actions are making it harder to embrace this Irish thought:

May you have length with your days,

and strength with your step,

and may each season have a reason to celebrate your faith in mankind!

But we must not lose hope. We must keep our spirits up and never stop striving to improve the world — a world that, despite our current setbacks, is improving the lives of millions more with each passing year.

This Irish poem provides wonderful guidance on how best to proceed with one’s life:

Here’s to a fellow who smiles,

When life runs along like a song.

And here’s to the lad who can smile,

When everything goes dead wrong.

Those of us lucky to be living in America enjoy more blessings than millions of others around the world — though we still have our challenges and improvements to make.

As we focus on improvements, however, let’s not lose focus on the many things we’ve got right.

This Irish insight should give us pause:

I complained that I had no shoes

Until I met a man who had no feet. 

Of all the many blessings in my life, one of the greatest has been the close group friends who have kept me laughing out loud since we formed our bonds in high school — which is why this Irish poem is right on the money:

There are good ships and there are wood ships,

the ships that sail the sea.

But the best ships are friendships,

and may they always be.

All of us know that we do not need great wealth or fame to find happiness. Learning to appreciate our simple blessings is the true key to happiness — a concept captured well in this Irish poem:

May there always be work for your hands to do,

May your purse always hold a coin or two.

May the sun always shine warm on your windowpane,

May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.

May the hand of a friend always be near you,

And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you. 

Though we try to be gracious to our fellow man — and try to live up to the ideals of these Irish poems and blessings — I must admit this guilty-pleasure poem is one of my favorites!

May those who love us love us.

And those that don’t love us,

May God turn their hearts.

And if He doesn’t turn their hearts, 

May He turn their ankles,

So we’ll know them by their limping. 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Copyright 2022 Tom Purcell, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Tom Purcell is an author and humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Email him at [email protected]