Impressions of the youthful mind
Are marked so clear and deep,
Time often strives in vain their print
From memory to sweep;
The home of childhood, childhood’s friends,
Its hopes, its loves, its ways,
The good we learn, the bad we learn,
Cling on through riper days.
Manhood with more impetuous love
May cursed be or blest;
Yet are youth’s friends wound round the heart
By ties the tenderest;
Then ‘tis not strange that you, my friend –
Youth’s comrade first and best –
Are printed deep still in my mind,
And shrined within my breast.
Together oft we ran to school,
Together wrote and read,
Together hied we home again,
And slumbered head by head;
Together tackled problems hard,
And helped each other out,
Together strove for rivalry
In learning’s battle stout.
But Fate that doomed the Gael to roam,
Our parting did decree;
It steered your bark far o’er the foam,
Away across the sea.
And now within the city’s din,
With buildings all around,
No azure skies to feast your eyes,
No verdure on the ground.
I know you yearn old scenes to view,
To feel the mountain breeze,
And hear the happy wild birds’ songs,
And wind among the trees;
I know you often waft your thoughts
Back over land and sea,
On hill and plain to live again
The youth you lived with me.
And often, too, youth’s comrade dear,
Though billows us divide,
I dream we both are school boys here,
And wander side by side.
And read our school books o’er again
In that same school of yore;
And play upon the grassy plain,
Where oft we played before
Michael Mullin ‘The Bard of Foremass’
Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co Tyrone.
This poem was written for Patrick (Patrick Dan – P.D.) who was a year older than granda whereas John was a few years younger.
This newspaper print has a ‘clubites’ number (57856) H. M. It is possibly from ‘The Freeman’s Journal’ – a weekly column written by Rose Kavanagh under the name of ‘Uncle Remus’. Rose herself was a poet born in Kilnadroy, Beragh, lived at Knockmanny and is buried at Forth Chapel. She died in 1903 we think. The Freeman’s Journal was an all Ireland nationalist/republican newspaper possibly printed in Dublin. (His poem ‘Rose Kavanagh’ is on page 134 of ‘Kevin’s Poems – Typed in England’)