English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Paul Durcan,

My name is Brian Barrett, I am a student at Catholic Memorial, in Boston Massachusetts. This year we are studying contemporary British literature in English class. We are yet to discuss any of your specific work in class, I discovered your name off of a web sight my teacher gave to me. I picked your name out of all the writers on the website for two reasons, because I like poetry and because you are Irish. I live in America and in America I am considered Irish, even though I have never been there. I don’t even know any of my relatives who live there. I think that it would be excellent if you could come to my class and read some of your poetry. Perhaps you could read from “O Westport in the Light of The Asian Minor” because it was you first published collection and my peers and I are at the very beginning of our writing careers.

I learned you attended University College in Cork, where you studied archeology and medieval history. This year I am studying the medieval era in Western Civ. class, I find it very interesting. I think it must have been interesting to learn about the subject so close to where it actually happened hundreds of years ago. I also know that you are kind of familiar with America because you were a Poet in Residence at Frost Place, New Hampshire in 1985. New Hampshire is very close to where I live in Boston, its only like an hour an a half drive. You also won the Irish American Culture Institute of Poetry award in 1989.


Brian Barrett
























The song “My Old Man” sung by Marie Lloyd teaches us about the struggle of the lower class people of England in the later 1800s and early 1900s. The way the song described the struggle of common people is one of the reasons for its popularity. The song was written by Fred W. Leigh and Charles Collins. The song was most famously sung by Marie Lloyd, her real name was Matilda Alice Victoria Wood.

Although song “my old man” was originally sung by Marie Lloyd, it was written by Fred W. Leigh and Charles Collins in 1919. The song is not just know as “my old man” but is often referred to as “foller the van” and “don’t dilly dally on the way”. The song takes these titles because of words in the songs chorus. This song was originally sung in 1919, this was right after World War I. Great Britain was still recovering from the war and the song reflects the struggle of a family trying to get by. This is revealed to us in the first line where it says “We had to move away, 'cos the rent we couldn't pay”, this shows an economic struggle that continues throughout the whole song. Another line that shows how desperate the people are is the last line “If I don't soon have a meal, I shall have to rob the linnet of its seed!”

This song changes my view of how things were in England in 1919. The song shows me that even though the country had just won a war, there are still a lot of problems and things were far from perfect. The songs also shows me how people when faced with great obstacles can over come and still find something positive about their situation. This is shown in the line “'Cos it's little things like that what does you good” where when with so little left in her life she still finds a positive view of things. The line “And I feel as if I might, Have to stay out here all night” shows the seriousness of the persons situation.

The Song “my old man” is known today as the greatest song of Marie Lloyd, even though she didn’t write it. The song is still know today and has been re-sung by various different people. The song is also credited for making the expression “dilly dally” more commonly known and used. The song also became well know in pubs in England and Ireland and is still put on classic pub song CDs.

“My Old Man” written by Fred W. Leigh and Charles Collins and most famously sung by Marie Lloyd is a song about one families struggle to get by and the obstacles that they had to face. The song teaches us about the life of ordinary people in England’s history. The song was so popular that it became and still is Marie Lloyd’s signature tune. Even though the song was written almost 100 years ago it can still be found online, in CDs, and has been re sung by a number of people.





























On Thursday February 23, 2006 an 8 year old autistic boy, Jared Jordan McGuire, was announced missing at 3pm from his home in the Pines Townhouse community. Jared’s mother, Martha Mcguire, told officials that she had last been aware of him in the house when he was taking a nap on the couch at around 1:30pm. On Friday February 24, 2006 at 10:40am the body of Jared Jordan McGuire was found floating in a pond about 200 feet away from his house. "As we walked to the pond, I saw the body floating about six feet off the shore," said Sheriff's Office Marine Unit Deputy Ray Griffith who discovered the body with Sgt. Larry Gamage. A witness told officials that he saw Jared in front The Dollar Store near Trafalgar Square shopping center around 3:30pm on Thursday afternoon. The witness also reported that Jared was forced into a mid-1990s Chevrolet van with a sliding passenger door. "We are still looking into the abduction angle,” said Greenacres Police Lt. Michael Porath.

This case is currently still open and they police are yet to convict anyone of this crime. As far as I have read the police don’t even have any suspects. But who ever killed Jared couldn’t have had a justified reason. It seems like everyone who knew him had nothing but good things to say about him and that every thing seemed to be going normal in his life. "He appeared to be a happy-go-lucky little child,” said neighbor Karen Taylor. "It was just the three of them," said neighbor Rafael Carmona, "They were a peaceful family. ...The guy was with his kids all the time."

Although it is uncertain what had actually happened to Jared McGuire. Police got a tip from a witness who reportedly saw the boy around 3:30 p.m. in front of The Dollar Store at Trafalgar Square shopping center at Forest Hill Boulevard and Jog Road. The witness told investigators a child, who the witness thought was Jared, was forced into a mid-1990s Chevrolet van with a sliding passenger door. It was after that tip when the amber alert was issued.

As I did more research I learned that there was a great possibility that there may have been no foul play involved in Jared’s death at all. "We are still looking into the abduction angle," said Greenacres Police Lt. Michael Porath. But looking for the appearance of this crime in British Litterateur was not as hard as I thought it would be. I didn’t have to look any further than a story we read this year in class. The crime of a dead child appeared in Frankenstein, when the monster killed a boy and left people with little clues. This is a lot like this case because no one is shore what happened to the Jared, but I hope it does not end up like it did in the book where an innocent person was convicted of the murder.

This case, no matter if it was a murder or a terrible accident, is very sad and disturbing because it deals with the loss of an innocent life. But its not just any life it was the life of a young boy who was apparently very content with his life. The possibility of an accidental death is greatly increase when I consider the fact that the boy had autism and was found in a body of water so close to his house. But if there was a crime committed that day to Jared, it was definitely a crime of power. The crime of killing a child deals with the abuse of physical power, and it was worse because of Jared’s mental disability.