Monday, July 11, 2022

'The July Day' 1906, by Adam Lynn of Cullybackey

This is from Adam Lynn's collection Random Rhymes. Despite 'the system' in Northern Ireland doing almost everything it can to equate Ulster-Scots with modern-day Unionism, when you bother to actually read authentic Ulster-Scots literature you will struggle to find much of any overtly Unionist content.

The writers are almost entirely about community rather than nationality, and any indications of the concept of nationality is defined by their lived experiences of community first. This poem isn't high art, it's an account of a typical community 12th July.

Attempts to skew Ulster-Scots into the binary political framework of Ulster Unionism or Irish Nationalism will fail. You might actually perceive glimmers of both, even within the same piece of writing, because it's far more organic than our restrictive present-day categories (see 2019 post about Adam Lynn here and a July 2020 post, again about Adam Lynn, here). It's good for everybody. If only the policy-makers bothered to understand.

You can extend this beyond our own narrow context – to emigrant America and the Revolution of 1776, you'll read writing that is pro, and writing that is unsure, and writing that is against.

There's always a broader, fuller, picture. 

Challenge your own categories. Read the literature. Community first.