Road to Newtownsandes

by Patrick McCauliffe
(Dedicated to my mother and father, John and Mary McAuliffe of Gurtdromosillihy)

Many a tree gave shelter to that half mile road to town,
Many a tree has withered there and many a new one grown,
Many years have vanished, and swiftly did they go
Since I have seen that gravel road or hit it heel and toe.

Sometimes I hear my step resound
Beneath the old stone bridge;
I scent the fragrant floral bowers
That grew on either ridge;
I see the rooks on Smith’s grove
Serve their young with food
While the thrush, the King of songbirds
Is singing through the woods.

The blackbird whistles near the road
In concord with the thrush
All enjoying their wildlife freedom
Along the fruitiful bush.
I see white thorn trees in bloom
And woodnuts dropping down
All those are visions of delight
While on the road to town.

I see the swallows skim the stream
Each sip, each catch a fly
And the lark in flight is singing loud
While soaring towards the sky.
The mowing machine re-echoes there
While cutting swaths of hay
Love scenes and sounds so near and
Yet so far away.

There beside the busy homestead,
I rest ‘tween light and shade;
I think why rosy cheeks I knew
Should ever have to fade.
Thinking why two stately figures
Should be shorn of their bloom;
Thinking why God’s masterpiece
Should present age or gloom.

I see the little schoolhouse
Where culture is en vogue
I hear the scholars sing with a
Fluent Kerry brogue.
While midst the scenes of grandeur
Clasping old friends’ hands.