Sean Clifford Poems

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.

The Rambling House

Do you remember the roving house when neighbours called each night,
to chat and talk the hours away beside the turf fire bright.
But they have vanished from the scene, like a feather in the wind,
I’d like if they came back again, it would be a Godsend.

One man would always start the chat, with some daring, personal feat,
then the others would join in and with him they’d compete.
And little Johnny was the best, he’d stand up on the floor, no matter what the story was he had seen a quite bit more.

I remember one particular night, the topic it was ghosts,
and Johnny had seen the biggest one, at least that was his boast.
“He was surely ten foot tall”, say he, “with glaring eyes of red,
another man would faint of course or maybe drop down dead”.
“I’ll eat you”, says the ghost to John, “before the night is through”,
and Johnny looked up at the ghost said “that’s what you look like too”.
The ghost then had enough of John, he retired through the wall,
and Johnny cycled home once more no fear in him at all.

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