Only a wreath of shamrocks,
Dewy and fresh and green,
Plucked by an Irish mother,
Adown an old boreen.
Tenderly, gently, slowly,
While her warm tears water them,
She packs them with love – pure mother love;
Then send them away o’er the waves to rove;
With a blessing on leaf and stem.
Only a wreath of shamrocks –
Crushed stems and faded leaves –
Which an exiled Irish daughter
With trembling hands receives.
How she kissed the withered shamrocks,
And held them to her heart!
The stranger may not understand
They are of her faith, and her native land,
And her own mother a part.
Michael Mullin ‘The Bard of Foremass’
Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co Tyrone.