Two Irish Poets by Mark R. Elsis

Phil Lynott

“There’s nothing wrong with being a bit cocky
and all the time threatening the system.”
Phil Lynott

I was sitting in my Peugeot 504 taxi, first in line, waiting for a fare outside of the renowned Mudd Club late one night during the magical summer of 1980 when a passenger got in and said he wanted to go to the Berkshire Hotel on 52nd Street and Madison Avenue. He spoke with an Irish brogue, so I asked him, what part of Ireland are you from? He said, from Dublin. I told him my maternal grandparents were both born in Ireland, and I’m an Irish poet here to save our species from extinction. Right away, he told me that he was also an Irish poet. I said, my name is Mark, and it’s good to meet you. He replied back and said his name was Philip, and it was good to meet me. He then mentioned that it was coincidental to get into a New York City taxi and find out the driver was an Irish poet.

His Dublin accent wasn’t too thick, and I could understand nearly every word. At my local tavern in Elmhurst, the Gaslight Inn was owned and run by folks from Dublin with a much thicker brogue, so thick that many times I couldn’t understand half the words they were saying. I asked him what he did back in Dublin? He told me that he was in the band Thin Lizzy. Then I put it together and realized he was Phil Lynott, the founder, principal songwriter, and lead singer of Thin Lizzy. I told him I really liked his music, loved the song The Boys Are Back In Town, and he was a talented bassist, singer, and songwriter. He was genuinely gracious and said thank you, Mark.

He asked if I had heard of his first solo album, Solo in Soho, being played on the radio. I told him yes, WNEW-FM 102.7 gave it quite a lot of airtime. He was pleased to hear from me that his music was being played in New York City by the number one rock radio station in the United States.

Philip was happy and outgoing with me. He told me he was married, and his wife was named Caroline, and they have two beautiful baby girls, Sarah and Cathleen. Then, he asked me to recite a poem of mine. So I did. I recited a poem I had written a few months earlier called, You Create Your Own Reality. As soon as I had finished, he asked me to please recite it again, so I did. When I finished, he told me that it was a beautiful poem. His kind compliment brought joy to my heart, and I told him, thank you, Philip. The next thing I knew, we were at the Berkshire Hotel, and he gave me the fare along with a generous tip, so I got out of my taxi, shook his hand, and told him to keep on rockin.

Philip, Caroline, and their daughters, Sarah and Cathleen.

I enjoyed meeting Philip. He was not only the leader of one of the most famous bands in the world at that time, but with me, he was another Irish poet.

Well, about a year or so later, and once again, it is late at night, and I’m the first taxi in line in front of the Mudd Club. I also hung out quite often at the Mudd Club on my one night off each week. I was writing some poetry when a fare opened the back door and got in. As the door closed, I heard a man with an Irish brogue say, Mark, how are you? I looked back, and to my astonishment, it was Philip Lynott, once again, sitting alone in the back seat of my taxi. I completely turned around, we shook hands, and both smiled at our paths crossing yet again. To the Berkshire Hotel, I asked? He said yes, same as last time.

As I started driving away, Philip asked if I was writing poetry just now when he got in. I said yes. He then asked me to recite a poem that I’ve recently written. I recited a poem called, Somehow Succeed. This poem would be same one I would tell Michael Jackson a couple of months later when I talked with him for about an hour at the after-hours club AM-PM. The poem Somehow Succeed inspired Michael to create the song and video Beat It, which propelled Thriller into becoming the best-selling album of all-time. Once again, as he did last year, Philip told me this was a beautiful poem. I said thank you and asked him to recite one of his poems. He did. It was one he had written for his daughter. When he had finished it, I told him it was a profoundly loving poem. My compliment instantly brought a smile to his face.

There we were, two Irish poets, both taught by Christian Brothers, reciting poems to one another while driving along late one night in the center of the universe, otherwise known as Manhattan.

All too soon, we were in front of the Berkshire Hotel. This time, Philip was even more generous, for he handed me a fifty-dollar bill for a five-dollar fare and said keep the change. Once again, I got out of my taxi and shook his hand. But this time, two Irish poets also gave each other a long reverential hug.

Philip Parris Lynott died on January 4, 1986, at 36 years of age.

Rest in peace, you wonderful Irish poet.

Poetry Books by Phil Lynott
Lynott’s first book of poetry, “Songs for While I’m Away”, was published in 1974. It contained 21 poems which were all lyrics from Thin Lizzy songs, except one titled “A Holy Encounter”. Only 1,000 copies of the book were printed. In 1977, a second volume was released, titled “Philip”. In 1997, both books were brought together in a single volume, again titled “Songs for While I’m Away”. This compendium edition featured illustrations by Tim Booth and Jim Fitzpatrick, and the original introductions by Peter Fallon and John Peel. A documentary of the same name, featuring interviews with people who knew Lynott and worked with him, and some of his admirers such U2’s Adam Clayton, was released in 2020.

Resonate Love
144 Poems
by Mark R. Elsis

I think Thin Lizzy should be inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. If you agree, email and tell them:

Thin Lizzy | Phil Lynott

Phil Lynott

Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy
Playlist by Mark R. Elsis

The Boys Are Back In Town (4:23)
by Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy

Phillo’s Girls Phil Lynott’s Daughters ‘Proud’ To Be Thin Lizzy Star’s Children As They Open Up About Childhood For First Time
Phil Lynott’s daughters have spoken for the first time about how “proud” they are to be the Thin Lizzy star’s children. Sarah and Cathleen spent their early years in Howth, Co Dublin, but then moved to the UK when their mum Caroline Taraskevics – the daughter of late ITV quiz show host Leslie Crowther – remarried and set up in home in Bristol.
by Ken Sweeney

On This Day: Phil Lynott, Founder Of Thin Lizzy, Died
We celebrate iconic rockstar and Thiny Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott’s life with a look at his most popular songs. Phil Lynott, the frontman for the iconic Irish rock band Thin Lizzy, died on this day, January 4, 1986, at Salisbury Infirmary, in Wiltshire, England. Phil Lynott was born on August 20, 1949, in West Bromwich, England, to an Irish mother and British Guianese father, but returned to Dublin at the age of four where he was raised by his grandmother in Crumlin.
by IrishCentral Staff

Philomena Lynott at the statue of her beloved son Philip Parris Lynott.

“I still listen to his music every single day.
I go over and I pour water on to his gravestone.
Then when I leave I give him a kick, for breaking my heart.”
Philomena Lynott, is an Irish author and entrepreneur.
She is also the mother of Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott.

Mudd Club
by Mark R. Elsis

The Genesis Of Beat It
by Mark R. Elsis

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2 Replies to “Two Irish Poets by Mark R. Elsis

  1. Hello Mr. Mark Ellis. My name is Matt , Thank you for sharing your meetings and stories. You are fortunate to have met so many legends from all walks. Do you read these comments? Anyways, If you are ever in San Jose California it would be an honor to speak with you . Thanks again.

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