• Michael Mullins
  • Michael "The Bard" Mullin
  • "The Bard of Foremass"
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    A solemn hush has settled o’er the valleys
    And the clean-bosomed hills. The air is still;
    No whisper in the tree-tops, and no rustle
    In corn down on the holms or up the hill.

    The songbirds all are mute; days of abundance
    Have made them lazy.  The cuckoo is gone.
    The corncrake’s resting. But the restless river,
    In the hush seeming louder, carols on.

    Potatoes look pale blue, their spray fresh on them;
    The meadows’ aftermath is soft and green;
    The lea’s a –bloom with buttercup and clover;
    The slow-maturing corn inclines to lean.

    The sky is overcast with heavy vapours,
    Suddenly a bewildering and blinding flash
    Of lightning, like a glittering dagger, pierces
    The stillness – followed by a fearful crash.

    The dread artillery of God now rumbles
    Faint in the distance. Lightings play among
    Dark clouds and vanish.  The persistent river
    Once more resumes its interrupted song.



    When the summer sun is beaming,
    And the world is fair and bright.
    It is bliss to go a-dreaming
    Through the meadows green and white,
    To my river where each sally
    Holds its parasol on high;
    While the soft winds of the valley
    Through the leafy branches sigh.

    It is sweet to lie at leisure
    After heavy labour done,
    Feeling there the restful pleasure –
    Wooed by wind and kissed by sun;
    Watching sun and shadow going
    O’er the landscape in a race –
    Just like joy and sorrow showing,
    In a maiden’s tell tale face.

    List’ning to the music tender
    Played by Zepeyr’s airy band
    On the river’s harp of slender
    Osier and of willow wand;
    List’ning to the bird notes blending
    With the crooning of the breeze
    While the river’s song ascending
    Harmonises all of these.

    O tis sweet to be a-dreaming
    By the pleasant riverside,
    When the summer sun is beaming –
    With fond memories to bide;
    Dreams of which these scenes remind me,
    Friendships, loves and hopes sublime –
    Golden links that firmly bind me
    To youth’s olden golden time.

    MICHAEL MULLIN, ‘The Bard of Foremass’,
    Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone.

    3rd verse 4th line osier – other name for sally

    O valleys beautiful I see as through this isle I roam,
    And valleys beautiful may be afar beyond the foam;
    But still the fairest, dearest is a valley in Tyrone –
    The peaceful, graceful Valley of the Telephone.

    There is a look of homeliness and kindness and charm
    About this little valley’s every field and every farm;
    There’s something that is friendly in each sod and stick and stone
    In the make-up of the Valley of the Telephone.

    The telephone has given it the scientific touch,
    Albeit not interfering with its native beauty much.
    O, the country seat of loveliness is hidden in Tyrone
    In the peaceful, graceful Valley of the Telephone.

    As pleasant as the smile that lights a dreaming infants face,
    This valley is when sunbeams come to aggrandize its grace;
    And the stream that glides on silver feet o’er pebble, sand and stone
    Croons softly to the Valley of the Telephone.

    The wee brown feathered angels that inhabit bush and tree,
    Sing to the harping of sweet winds until it seems to me
    That a bit of heaven has fallen in the middle of Tyrone
    The peaceful, graceful Valley of the Telephone.

    No wonder that Tyrconnell’s peaks, Tyrone’s and Derry’s too,
    Peep o’er each others shoulders for an unobstructed view
    Of the fairest of the valleys of our beautiful Tyrone
    The peaceful, graceful Valley of the Telephone


    MICHAEL MULLIN, ‘The Bard of Foremass’,
    Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone.

    4th verse 2nd line – aggrandize – make greater in size, power or rank