THE LITTLE IRISH MOTHER
Have you seen the tidy cottage in the straggling, dusty street,
Where the roses swing their censers by the door?
'Tis a queer, old battered landmark that belongs to other years;
With the dog-leg fence around it, and its hat about its ears,
And the cow-bell in the gum-tree, and the bucket on the stool,
There's a motley host of memories round that old bush school--
"We’ll all be rooned," said Hanrahan
In accents most forlorn
Outside the church ere Mass began
One frosty Sunday morn.
The bishop sat in lordly state and purple cap sublime,
And galvanized the old bush church at Confirmation time;
And all the kids were mustered up from fifty miles around,
With Sunday clothes, and staring eyes, and ignorance profound.
May a fading fancy hover round a gladness that is over?
May a dreamer in the silence rake the ashes of the past?
So a spirit might awaken in the best the years have taken,
And the Jove that left him lonely might be with him at the last.
They hadn't met for fifty years, or was it fifty-one ?
They'd parted when their ship arrived their separate ways to run.
The old Baptismal Register back home in County Clare
Held both their names in faded ink, the same day written there.
Fall the shadows on the gullies, fades the purple from the mountain;
And the day that's passing outwards down the stairways of the sky,
With its kindly deeds and sordid on its folded page recorded,
Waves a friendly hand across the range to bid the world "good-bye."
The hawker with his tilted cart pulled up beside the fence,
And opened out his wondrous mart with startling eloquence;
All sorts of toys for girls and boys upon the grass he spread,
And dolls, dirt-cheap, that went to sleep when stood upon their head;
Now McEvoy was altar-boy
As long as I remember;
He was, bedad, a crabbed lad,
And sixty come December.