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1915 > Sligo Poetry 1915 > Sligo Independent

The last time John Arthur Hamilton's poetry appeared in a Sligo newspaper was in the Sligo Times in 1912. The family appears to have left Sligo in 1914 and settled in his father's native Scotland.

He may have contributed poetry to newspapers in Scotland in the meantime but I have found no trace of it. He appears to have been aroused from his poetic slumber in 1915 by the continuing calls for more enlistment and by the perception that Ireland, and in particular the west, had not contributed a fair share.

His recruiting poem differs from most of that type by ignoring the usual reasons for enlisting, German brutality, defence of Belgium, defence of the homeland, and instead stresses the duty of the time expressed in abstract terms. Doing what's right is more important at this time than the pursuit of the coincidentally rhyming leisure and pleasure.

Hamilton's other poem doesn't seem to have anything to do with the war. It celebrates, in language which is stilted and full of stock "poetic" phrases, the return to home, England, after months roving free on the sea.

There is little evidence in these two poems of any improvement or development in Hamilton's writing since his days in Sligo and little to suggest that he had been writing much in the interim.

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Sligo Independent 24 April 1915
           DUTY’S CALL.

What’s the use of vainly wishing
     Times were otherwise
Time is swiftly, surely pressing,
     Duty bids you rise.
Free your soul from selfish pleasure,
     Lift your task anew,
This is not the time for leisure
     There is work to do.

In the noble path of duty
     Unseen roses lie,
Scenes of unimagined beauty,
     Open to the eye,
Meanest things are glory-tinted,
     Sordid things grow bright,
As the coins but newly-minted,
     When we do what’s right.

Glasgow          J.A.W. Hamilton.


Sligo Independent 28 August 1915
     Homeward Bound.
           (Sea Song.)

O’er the sea, roving free,
Many, many months were we,
Now, at last, steaming fast,
Homeward bound are we.
And once more England’s shore
Soon our longing eyes will "sight,"
Oh, how sweet, when we greet
Loved ones with delight.

Homeward bound, joyful sound,
Homeward, homeward, homeward bound,
Homeward bound, joyful sound,
Homeward bound are we.

Visions bright, every night
Haunt our dreaming eyelids, till
We awake, then they make
Daylight beauteous still.
Bright blue sea, rolling free,
Leaping, laughing, curling sea,
Bear we home o’er the foam,
Homeward bound are we.

Glasgow.    J.A.W. Hamilton.

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