Don’t know “Jack” ‘bout folks
In this picture, but it’s been—
‘Round for donkey’s years!
Not entirely true.
My Dad had this photo tucked away in his dresser drawer, but there is no writing on the back to remind us of who these people were. My best guess is the young boy on the left is either my uncle, Odran (Hugh) or Patrick (the youngest in the Davison family. The lady in black next to him could be my great grandmother (I don’t know her name). The young lady next to her looks very like my Aunt Betty, but could also by my Aunt Jane who is the youngest girl. I believe the woman on the right is my grandmother, of the photograph from Sepia Saturday #8.
Judging by the dresses, I think the photograph must have been taken around the 1950s, but I can’t be certain. It would definitely have been taken in the North of Ireland, somewhere in the country outside of Belfast.
I can see where my father got his love of animals and I’m so grateful he passed that appreciation on to me.
The poet G.K. Chesterton wrote one of my favourite poems: The Donkey.
As a little girl I used to love this poem for its reference to the animal itself, even though the first three verses seemed a bit scary to me. Then, as a youth, I came to appreciate the meaning behind the poem - the vindication in the final verse. The relevance the donkey claims with respect to Palm Sunday (my favourite Sunday in the church calendar) is powerful. No other animal was selected to be there when Jesus rode into Jerusalem to accomplish His Passion, Death and Resurrection, only the humble donkey.
Now, as an adult I visit a Donkey Sanctuary not far from my home town where I can see for myself the indelible cross placed on the animals' backs.
My father once wrote as a footnote to a typed copy of this poem : "It surely cannot be mere happenstance that the donkey is the only creature of the animal kingdom that is clearly marked with a cross on its back and front shoulders, thus" (and hand-drew a cross in black at the end of the comment). I believe he may have made a good priest or theologian.
The title may be simple, but this poem is complex.
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.
For more great explorations into family histories through photographs, visit the Sepia Saturday blog to find links, or sign up yourself and post a picture or two.