Speaker for 24th November 2015

Photo: Club President John Graham greets John Johnson, with club members Brian Green (L) and Norman Gallagher (R) ___________
Talk by John Johnson, who gave us 'Various Verses'!

(Note to members: you can 'click' on the RED UNDERLINED TEXT to get more information)
Coleraine Probus members welcomed former BBC presenter and farming correspondent John Johnson to this club meeting. John entertained the club with a virtuoso presentation of 'various verses' selected from the work of W. F. Marshall, Percy French and some other popular NI poets.

Giants of verse: William Percy French (Left) and W. F. Marshall (Right)

John had started is 'poetry recitation career' in his 'Sunday School' days, and developed a great admiration for W. F. Marshall. This was possibly helped by the fact that John grew up on a farm in Articlave, and would attend the Castlerock church where the Rev. Marshall was the Minister.

Starting with everyone's favourite 'Me and me Da', John showed Marshall's love of the dialect of his native Tyrone, and then went on to the stories (poems) of immigration to the USA that also fascinated the writer.

Following the theme through, John then introduced many of the members to a more serious side to Percy French with 'An Irish Mother'. Later John read another gem by Percy French, 'Later On', a bitter / sweet tale of what life holds for us as we 'grow up'!

Other Marshall poems included in John's recitation included 'Sara Ann', 'Celli' and 'The Lad'. The nations most popular poem - Kipling's 'If' - was also read as well as the Belfast poet James Young's 'Only a slum'. (Note: this will open in a new window, for you to play a video of James Young reciting the poem)

A vote of thanks was proposed by Norman Gallagher, for John sharing so many memories with the club members as well as the wonderfully expert use of the Tyrone dialect. This was a highly enjoyable talk and much appreciated by club members - although some non-Tyrone members were looking for a translation at times!

Note: Members interested in W.F. Marshall can download a copy of the booklet published by the Ulster-Scots Community Network on the life and poems of the great man. Just 'click' this link to go to our 'Downloads' page!