• Michael Mullins
  • Michael "The Bard" Mullin
  • "The Bard of Foremass"
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    Sliding along the River of Time
    As we go day by day.
    A laugh or the lilt of a merry rhyme
    Will help to brighten the way.

    But when the River is wild and rough,
    And dangerous and dark,
    Enough it seems and more than enough.
    To pilot our fragile bark.

    These are the critical times of test:
    The coward will cringe and doubt –
    But strong stout hearts will be at their best
    When all seems down and out.

    Tis easy to sing when trouble free;
    Tis easy a smile to wear;
    Tis easy an optimist to be
    When all is smooth and fair.

    But here’s to the gallant lad who goes
    With a lilt and smile along,
    When the blizzard of misfortune blows
    And everything seems wrong.

    MICHAEL MULLIN, ‘The Bard of Foremass’,
    Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone.
    Sent 28 Jan ‘47

    The Old Year dies to-night. With glee to-morrow
    We’ll see the New Year rise.
    But now we feel no joy; for we in sorrow
    Watch while the Old Year dies.

    Trees with uplifted arms, like priests, are praying
    For the departing one.
    Sadly the breeze on sylvan harps is playing
    For him whose race is run.

    We think of all the friends the year took from us;
    Of friends he sent our way;
    Of resolution kept, of broken promise:-
    We sigh and try to pray.

    He carried us along ‘mid pains and pleasures;
    Laden with gifts was he.
    Tonight we mourn inestimable treasures
    Squandered most recklessly.

    The glad, the sad, the dear old year is dying.
    In vain our sighs and tears.
    Oceans of teardrops, centuries of sighing
    Will not bring back dead years.

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

    He met some friends in a village street,
    Who urged him away to join their “treat”,
    In the public house.  I chanced to be
    Where I could hear it all, and see.

    He was only a lad; and my hopes were small
    That he would resist the tempting call.
    He loved not whiskey, beer, or wine,
    But his love for his friends was genuine.

    Comradeship, custom, and human pride
    Are powerful allies side by side;
    And young lads are loth to be counted mean,
    And like to be classed with “the decent,” I ween.

    To join his friends in a drink or two
    Would be no great crime.  What would he do?
    Would he view the case with worldly eyes?
    Or soar aloft to the sacrifice?

    For a little while he did not speak;
    Then a blush, like a girl’s suffused his cheek:
    He thought of some words of his mother dead –
    Then sadly but firmly, “No,” he said.

    I thought of Cassabianca then;
    I thought of Pearse, and Pearse-like men.
    And afterwards oft’ my thoughts would go
    To the hero lad who answered “No.”

    A trusted man with an honoured name,
    In his native land well known to fame;
    Nobility stamped on his ample brow –
    A man among men that lad is now.

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