The roads that I rambled in childhood, the
roads that in boyhood I roved,
The roads that I love now in manhood
more dearly than ever I loved:
On no map of the world you will find
them, nor yet on an Irish one –
But traced on a map in my heart are these
quiet old roads of Tyrone.
Full often I tramped them in winter when
white with a carpet of snow,
And in autumn when littered with leaves
Which the winds of the autumn laid low,
And in summer and spring when the
fields were as green as the emerald stone –
Green fields through which white roads
are winding, the quiet white roads of Tyrone.
When the work of the day has been done,
and unfurled is the banner of night,
And the darkness unveils to us wonderers
unseen in the dazzling daylight;
‘Tis one of my sweetest enjoyments to
ramble these roads at my ease –
Leaving labour and trouble behind me – to
list to the croon of the breeze.
To gaze on the glorious sky studded over
With numberless stars.
To breath in the silence unbroken by engines
of hurrying cars.
To think of the past, and to dream of the
friends of days that are gone,
And comrades who’ve sought other roads
than the quiet old roads of Tyrone.
In the old Irish cart I’d be happier jogging
these roads to my work.
Than if drawn in a beautiful coach through
the gorgeous streets of New York.
For the smile of the faces met here is the
sunshine that warms the heart.
Ah! many a sad exile sighs for the sound
of an Irish cart.
On the white roads meandering onwards
o’er high hill and valley serene –
Like strips of white lace woven, into a
vesture of purple and green.
Ah! God bless the roads of my childhood,
deep into my heart they have grown –
The quiet meandering roads, the beloved
old roads of Tyrone.
MICHAEL MULLIN, ‘The Bard of Foremass’,
Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone.