A climbing, crooked road there runs between
The farm I work on and my plot of peat –
“Twix Altamuskin brown and Foremass green –
The turf that warms me and the food I eat.
And when I start from Foremass, this rough way
More rugged grows the farther I proceed –
Just like the road of life; the boggy brae
At the far end is dangerous indeed.
Ah! many a day and many a year have I,
In this old cart (my father’s cart – now mine).
Gone jogging, where the long-beaked curlews cry,
And plump brown moorfowl on the heather dine.
The scent of dying hay, the breath of peat,
Gold ‘mong the green and purple ‘mong the brown.
The Autumn wind’s weird harping – all were sweet;
And mingled in my dreams, up hill and down.
With all its ruts and jolts, this crowded road
Is dear to me. I wish that I were now
Returning home across it with a load;
But still it rains. To God’s Will we must bow.
Michael Mullin’, ‘The Bard of Foremass’
Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone.