Friday, May 14, 2010

Epithalamion - For Jamillah and Mike: May 15, 2010

Our mortal path only becomes solid and sure footed when another person bonds to us - marriage. Man was meant to travel with a woman; set a path for children. Each of us finds the chemistry sparked by another's love to be the only real purpose that the parade of experiences that strings behind our steps allowed to somehow ignite. I believe that it is God's hand and delicate fingers that crafted this event. Let no man put asunder.

In 16th Century, Ireland an English civil servant met and bonded with the daughter of an aboriginal Irish chieftan - Edmund Spenser and Elizabeth Boyle. All around them the Irish and English were slaughtering one another - yet, marriage elevated the world's most beautiul poetry above the prosaic.

Here are Spenser's beautiful words for tomorrow's bride and groom - my friends Jamillah Ali and Mike Joyce*.

My love is now awake out of her dreame,
And her fayre eyes, like stars that dimmed were
With darksome cloud, now shew theyr goodly beams
More bright then Hesperus his head doth rere.
Come now, ye damzels, daughters of delight,
Helpe quickly her to dight.
But first come ye, fayre Houres, which were begot,
In Joves sweet paradice, of Day and Night,
Which doe the seasons of the year allot,
And al that ever in this world is fayre
Do make and still repayre.
And ye three handmayds of the Cyprian Queene,
The which doe still adorne her beauties pride,
Helpe to addorne my beautifullest bride:
And as ye her array, still throw betweene
Some graces to be seene:
And as ye use to Venus, to her sing,
The whiles the woods shal answer, and your eccho ring.

Now is my love all ready forth to come:
Let all the virgins therefore well awayt,
And ye fresh boyes, that tend upon her groome,
Prepare your selves, for he is comming strayt.
Set all your things in seemely good aray,
Fit for so joyfull day,
That joyfulst day that ever sunne did see.
Faire Sun, shew forth thy favourable ray,
And let thy lifull heat not fervent be,
For feare of burning her sunshyny face,
Her beauty to disgrace.
O fayrest Phoebus, father of the Muse,
If ever I did honour thee aright,
Or sing the thing that mote thy mind delight,
Doe not thy servants simple boone refuse,
But let this day, let this one day be myne,

From The Western People - Ballina County Mayo

MAKING the right impression on your prospective father-in-law is always a daunting task, but when the woman of your dreams is a daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali it must seem like the bar is set extra high.

Nevertheless, Chicago man Mike Joyce proved himself a heavy-weight in the romance stakes when he whisked Jamillah Ali to Ballina during her trip to Ireland with her father last week where he had co-ordinated a surprise marriage proposal.

Mike, whose grandmother Mary Carey (nee Higgins) hailed from Swinford, had commissioned a stunning white gold diamond Claddagh-themed engagement ring as a surprise for Jamillah, from Ballina jeweller, Joseph Winters, of The Hazel jewellery shop.

Joseph became acquainted with Mike Joyce some years ago through mutual friends in the USA. Mike is a partner in Chicago’s Celtic Boxing Club along with Rossport native Terry Cox. Muhammad Ali also has an interest in the club and Mike has known his daughter, Jamillah, for many years. He always told Joseph Winters that he would one day buy a ring for Jamillah from him. Last week the Ali family travelled to Ireland where Muhammad was made honorary freeman of his ancestral homeplace, Ennis. For Mike it was the perfect opportunity for a marriage proposal. He had been liaising with Joseph for some time in advance of the trip about a ring and Joseph suggested the Claddagh theme because of its Irish associations and the fact that it is the emblem of the Celtic Boxing Club.

Jamilla knew nothing of the conspiracy until Mike brought her to Ballina where they made a very low-key visit to Joseph in The Hazel on Wednesday afternoon, last.

Following some general chit-chat with Joseph, Mike told Jamillah that he wanted to show her something nice whereupon the ring was produced, with Jamillah immediately consenting to be engaged.

Afterwards the happy couple posed for exclusive photographs by photographer Henry Wills for the Western People and met with some of Joseph’s acquaintances in Ballina. The Hazel Jewellers on Tone Street in Ballina is probably the oldest jewellers in the west of Ireland, having been established in 1938 by Joseph’s parents, William and Mary Winters.

Now, Joseph has been joined by his son William who represents the third generation of the family involved in the business.

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