Sean Clifford Poems

The Cottage in the Glen

The little cottage looked so neat as it nestled in the glen,
it’s door was always open to welcome strangers in.
It’s golden thatch was gleaming, you could almost say aglow,
it’s sturdy walls were white washed as clean as driven snow.
A bordered path would lead you from the door to the small gate,
and all the roses in the front were tended to by Kate.
A cow, a goat, a donkey a gander and six geese,
were in a field behind the house, so Jack looked after these.
I remember Jack O’ Hara, the day he took Kate’s hand,
in the village church beyond the hill, a mile from where we stand.
They returned unto this little cot, honeymoons were not invented,
and they’ve lived here this forty years, quite happy and contented.

Now Jack, he was a ‘roadman’, breaking stones away,
he would cycle fifteen miles or more, before he’d start his day.
And Kate would get his breakfast, and then his lunch she’d make,
a ‘billy-can’ of sweetened tea and two cuts of one-way cake.
A little bit of bacon, if times were at their peak,
but meat was hard to come by at ten an six a week.
And later on each evening, when daylight hours expired,
Jack would cycle home again, quite fit but very tired.

But when the springtime came around, his tiredness he’d forget,
for in his little haggart, some potatoes he would set.
And he would tend that garden as he watched his seedling grow,
where he got his energy, no one will ever know.
Six children in the meantime, I’m happy to relate,
there and three boys as well, brought joy to Jack and Kate.
They were all so healthy, a gift from up above,
that house was filled with happiness, with caring and with love.

Memories of Country Life

I wonder if you’d come with me, to a day in early June,
some forty years ago or so and countryside in bloom.
Maybe you might think like me, and many other men,
but somehow I just seem to think we had finer summers then.
So if you’ll bear with me awhile, I’ll tell you what I’ll do,
I will describe those summer days, that long ago we knew

Country life was different then, the pace was much, much slower,
you didn’t have to watch you back, or even lock the door.
Country people took their time, and still the work was done,
machinery was scarce back then, just God’s help sand warm sun.
And on those summer mornings the first job was the cows,
who would get the ‘tough one’ , often caused some rows.

The milking being over, that gave the day a start,
the ‘creamery pony’ then was brought and yoked onto the cart.
Sometimes t’was hard to catch him for he was a cracked blackguard,
but Mary got a pan of oats and coaxed him to the yard.
The churns then being loaded and everything was swell,
Himself would say bring home some skim and the Examiner as well

And as the pony trotted we could not afford delay,
for the meadow known as ‘Murphy’s Field’ was to be mown that day.
I looked at the little pony and thought it was unfair,
when he’d get home, he’d pull his weight and ‘couple’ with the mare.
Now later on that little cob, with his larger equine mate,
were tackled up to the ‘number four’ inside the haggard gate.

The Road to School

How well I do remember, when I got up each day,
to hit the road to Lismire school, t’was just a mile away.
I was not an early riser, so you know what happens then,
I had to run it all the way including Stanard’s Glen.
And even though the rush was on, I never once forgot,
the names of all the places, we had titles on each spot.

Winter’s Boreen was the first, the Three Corner Gap I’d pass,
then Collin’s Cross Meadow, with it’s green and luscious grass.
Next came Jim Kenneally’s with its hedge trimmed so neat,
the Drain Field then across from here it’s spring water was a treat.
Timmy Murphy’s gate was next the Cluain was his front field,
and his workman’s cottage further on big families did yield

Mick Mullane’s was right next door and Guinee’s was next in line,
across the road was Collins where a great house stood one time.
and now we’ve Andy Murphy’s with the ‘Grove’ and the ‘Parkeen’,
with its bluebells and primroses to brighten up the scene.
Across the way was Power’s wood it was so full of trees,
and the ‘Awannanaar’ sang softly like a requiem to the less

Philosophers and Specialists

If you’ve got a problem and an answer can’t be found,
head down to your local bar and stand the boys a round.
For they are all philosophers and specialist too you see,
so they will have an answer whatever it may be.

And then they gather ‘round you, their knowledge to dispense,
was it your car had broken down or your electric fence.
Or maybe cattle problems, had you gone down in ‘the test’?
if so we have a self-made vet, he would do his best.

So this brought up the subject of cattle that were ill,
and some of their prescriptions would more than likely kill.
Their measures were in pints and quarts, they didn’t do things by halves,
and one man who never owned a ‘baste’ had a cure for scour in calves

Then cattle breeding was discussed from Hereford to Freisan,
and Belgian Blue s and Charollais each man had a good reason
Then ould Mick with glass in hand said, “they’re all a load of folly,
when I restock my land again, t’will be nothing but Black Polly”.

 

Newmarket in the 50's

I returned to Newmarket and looked `round in dismay,
things were not at all the same, I’d been so long away.
Shops and houses and the streets were very, very changed,
the smaller shops were all closed down, the big one’s re-arranged.
And then I started thinking, and if you’ll come with me,
we’ll do a tour of that fair town, and the way it used to be.

Miss Gillman’s is the first of course for a glass of ciderene,
and Mrs D. P Shine is next, she was first to have ice-cream.
Then we go down to Scully’s for the best cakes in the town,
and further down the street, we find the famous ‘Eckie Brown’.

To call to Mrs Eddie’s, for the paper was quite handy,
t’was here we bought `The Hotspurs’, ‘The Beano’ and ‘The Dandy’
And here too was ‘Lizzie Danihy’, with her ‘famous eating house’,
and next door we had Mag Bunworth for silk stockings or a blouse.

And now we’ve come to Quinlan’s hardware shop, for hayknife or a raker,
and back the street, Nick Barry, clothes shops and undertaker.
And right here too is Sheehan’s shop, a fine chemist that’s for sure,
for colds or influenza, you bet Michael had the cure.

Jack Angland’s is the next shop now, furniture old and new,
and by a strange coincidence an undertaker too.
And now we walk across the street and to our right and then,
we gaze into that draper’s shop, and we chat with ‘Denny Ben’
He had a lot of fabric there with silk and satin fine,
then two doors further up the street, that grocery man Tim Ryan.
And next we have Tim Barry, baking white flour by the ton,
a big and decent man he was, just like his penny bun.

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