Here in the city, gazing through a skylight,
I see far off a solitary star:
And fast my thoughts go speeding through the twilight
To pleasant Erin, where my loved ones are.
I see a cottage on a hillside quiet;
A little garden with its apple trees
Close by a haggard, and a turf stack nigh it,
A bed of flowers, and a hive of bees.
I hear a river to green meadows singing
A restful lullaby, a silvery song;
I hear the chapel bell – ‘tis Sunday-ringing;
I see upon the chapel road a throng.
I hear a curlew on the bog wind calling;
And moor-fowl whirring through the buoyant air;
I see a bog lark, like a star, down falling;
I feel the bog wind’s fingers in my hair.
I see the mountains all around me standing;
Green vales below me, and blue sky above.
I feel my spirit with great power expanding –
Great calmness and great freedom and great love.
But now my dream is ended, I am only
A lonely exile in a land afar;
Whose thoughts still hasten, when my soul is lonely,
To pleasant Erin where my loved ones are.
Michael Mullin ‘The Bard of Foremass’
Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co Tyrone.
This poem is pre – 1916 after Patrick and John went to England – an exile point of view.