(To his brother John B who went to London)
How short seems our youth when we’ve left it behind,
That seemed long while it yet was before us!
How little we cherished youth’s innocent joys,
Till youth and its joys had gone o’er us
Och! do you remember that time when our hearts
Were light as the down o’ the thistle –
When together we’d stray, an’ together we’d play,
An’ study an’ labour, an’ whistle?
An’ och! do you mind the dark nights that we tramped
To the band room, when learnin’ the flutin’?
How I on flute kep puffin’ away
An’ you on the piccolo tootin’!
An’ John, with what vigour we’d rush at our work,
Resolved to get through with our labours –
The diggin’ o’ praties or mowin o’ corn –
As soon as the rest of our neighbours!
Aroon, do you mind how we worked at the turf
On the top of the mountain together?
The breezes so mild; an’ the curlews so wild,
Startin’ up from their nests in the heather;
An’ the little red lark singin’ far, far above;
The world with sunshine o’erflowin’;
The crowin’ o’ moorcocks an’ cacklin’ o’ hens –
Upon the high hills o’ Tir Eoghain!
But since to the Sassenach land you have gone,
‘Tis often I miss you in Eirinn –
In autumn, when harvestin’ is to be done,
In spring when the ground is preparin’
An’ certain I am you oft sigh for the calm
O’ the green fields an’ blossomin’ heather,
An’ often you long for the mountain larks song,
An’ the days that we rambled together.
Michael Mullin ‘The Bard of Foremass’
Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co Tyrone.
(It is not too often Michael mentioned his brothers by name in his poems. This was written to John when he followed his brother Patrick to London. The ‘band’ was the Sixmilecross band)