Wee Tom Tig was a favourite
With all his mates at school
Though he’d laugh when tripped, and grin when nipped
Tom was not just a fool.
Tom was not bright; Tom would not fight
And much he was knocked about.
If his cap or pen got lost he’d grin
And say he’d do without.
Though often switched he never mitched
And though the cruel cane
Would cloud awhile his sunny smile
‘Twould soon break out again.
At last Tom Tig grew far too big
To sit in the wee school desks
So he bade good-by with a painless sigh
To teachers and school tasks.
The old school clock ticked slower then
And the old school grimmer grew
And the sun in the sky grew dimmer when
Tom Tig bade school adieu.
For him unfurled then spread the world
And the world just then looked grand
But Tom loved home and would not roam
Far from his own townland.
He laughed at us and we laughed at him
And we all laughed together
Great fun was he but sad were we
When he reached the end of his tether.
They came to his wake from near and far
And their tears would turn a mill
But all would swear who saw him there
That Tom was smiling still.
MICHAEL MULLIN, ‘The Bard of Foremass,
Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone.