John O'Brien

John O'Brien Biography

Monsignor Patrick Joseph Hartigan was an Australian Roman Catholic priest, educator, author and poet.

Biography

He was born at Yass, New South Wales and ordained after study at St Patrick's Seminary, Manly. Writing under the pseudonym "John O'Brien" Hartigan's verse celebrated the lives and mores of the outback pastoral folk he ministe ...

John O'Brien Comments

Horace Sinclair 04 January 2019

Was Tom Hartigan's bother, Tom Hartigan, New South Railways Commissioner?

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Chris Madden 12 March 2018

Can I find a copy of a poem by john O'brien printed in the Wagga Daily Advertiser comtaining two lines something like I hate to think of Fenn, growing a tail and hairy hide again?

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Lorna Wollaston 21 March 2008

When I had the pleasure of visiting Melbourne for 3 months in 1969, I came across a book called 'Aussie English' by our John O'Brien. I copied 'Bloody' directly out of the book but the version you have here differs somewhat. I never could get a copy of the book as I had to come home to the U.S. By the way, I love it!

2 47 Reply

The Best Poem Of John O'Brien

The Little Irish Mother

THE LITTLE IRISH MOTHER

Have you seen the tidy cottage in the straggling, dusty street,
Where the roses swing their censers by the door?
Have you heard the happy prattle and the tramp of tiny feet
As the sturdy youngsters romp around the floor?
Did you wonder why the wiree* comes to sing his sweetest song ?
Did the subtle charm of home upon you fall?
Did you puzzle why it haunted you the while you passed along?--
There's a Little Irish Mother there; that's all.

When you watched the children toiling at their lessons in the school,
Did you pick a winsome girleen from the rest,
With her wealth of curl a-cluster as she smiled upon the stool,
In a simple Monday-morning neatness dressed?
Did you mark the manly bearing ofa healthy-hearted boy
As he stood erect his well-conned task to tell ?
Did you revel in the freshness with a pulse of wholesomejoy?--
There's a Little Irish Mother there as well.

There's a Little Irish Mother that a lonely vigil keeps
In the settler's hut where seldom stranger comes,
Watching by the home-made cradle where one more Australian sleeps
While the breezes whisper weird things to the gums,
Where the settlers battle gamely, beaten down to rise again,
And the brave bush wives the toil and silence share,
Where the nation is a-building in the hearts of splendid men--
There's a Little Irish Mother always there.

There's a Little Irish Mother--and her head is bowed and gray,
And she's lonesome when the evening shadows fall;
Near the fire she "do be thinkin'," all the "childer' are away,
And their silent pictures watch her from the wall.
For the world has claimed them from her; they are men and women
now,
In their thinning hair the tell-tale silver gleams;
But she runs her fingers, dozing, o'er a tousled baby brow--
It is "little Con" or "Bridgie" in her dreams.

There's a Little Irish Mother sleeping softly now at last
Where the tangled grass is creeping all around;
And the shades of unsung heroes troop about her from the past
While the moonlight scatters diamonds on the mound.
And a good Australian's toiling in the world of busy men
Where the strife and sordid grinding cramp and kill;
But his eyes are sometimes misted, and his heart grows brave again--
She's the Little Irish Mother to him still.

When at last the books are balanced in the settling-up to be,
And our idols on the rubbish-heap are hurled,
Then the Judge shall call to honour--not the "stars," it seems to me,
Who have posed behind the footlights of the world;
But the king shall doff his purple, and the queen lay by her crown,
And the great ones of the earth shall stand aside
While a Little Irish Mother in her tattered, faded gown
Shall receive the crown too long to her denied.



John O'Brien

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