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1915 > Sligo Poetry 1915 > Sligo Champion

These poems, without any reference to the war, to politics or to Home Rule, show that normal life had to go on in spite of the war.

M.J. Flannery's exile's lament is a competent example of this form, common since the middle of the nineteenth century. It is stereotypical, lacking details of place and people which would make it memorable. The rhymes are common-place, he uses home/roam three times.

The second of the In Memoriam pieces is similar in that it was written by an exile and it does have some local details. It has echoes of the words of the song The Hills of Knocknasee which begins Dear friends, we met in love tonight on Columbia's tranquil shore and has the line From Coolaney on to Cloonacool, along the mountainside. Cloonacool is in south Sligo, near Tubbercurry; Columbia is the USA.

Martin Francis Doyle's mother, Margaret, a widow, is in the 1911 Census in Cloonacool living with her daughter, Mary, and son, Luke. Nine of the ten children born to her were still alive then. John Doyle, the son who died in 1914, may be the servant in the house of Brennans in
Ballyfahy, Kilturra, Sligo, in the Census. In the 1901 Census Margaret was a widow and Martin, aged 24, was still living at home. He emigrated between then and 1911. John was not at home in 1901.

The other In Memoriam piece is a more usual example marking a year since the mother's death and includes the usual expressions of sorrow, loss and efforts at resignation.

Mrs Owen Minan appears to have been Mary Minan of
Drumaskibbole, Kilmacowen, Sligo. In the 1911 Census she lived with her husband, son Patrick and daughter Katie. She is given as 65 years of age, her husband 66 and they had been married 39 years. Seven of the nine children born to the couple were still alive in 1911.

Sligo Champion 4 September 1915
  The Road that leads to Home.

Place me
in the wild Sahara,
With its ever shifting sand;
Place me on the trackless waters,
Or a yet more trackless land.
Yet where’er my footsteps wander,
In whatever land I roam,
There’s a path would fail me never,
’Tis the road that leads to home.

Paved with diamonds, memories sparkling
Through the weary waste of years,
Bridged by love’s sweet arches spanning,
Silent rivulets of tears.
Oh, a thousand times in fancy,
O’er the rushing of the foam,
I have trod the road to Erin,
Trod the road that leads to home.

I can trace its winding pathways,
Through the tropics, zones and spheres,
Till it greets a little gateway
Set between two wild pears.
Then a longing seems to seize me,
In whatever clime I roam,
’Tis a yearning for old Sligo
And the road that leads to home.

Yes, I envy its rambling
Through the perfumed valley flowers,
Where the whitethorns are nodding
’Neath the dreamy summer showers.
And the summer-powdered lilies,
With the heather-scented loam,
Cast their fragrance o’er the valleys
And the road that leads to home.

Should I stroll where it is straying,
Neath a dear old Irish sky,
Perfume-laden, music-throbbing,
I could lay me down and die.
But should cruel fate o’ertake me,
Should I die while yet I roam,
Hope it be en route to Erin,
On the road that leads to home.

Farewell all, just for the present,
I do hope, though far away,
I will meet you in the future
Round the dear enchanted bay.
Times will change and things will alter,
As this weary world goes on,
We must calmly walk the its pathway,
’Tis the road that leads to home.
                           M. J. Flannery.
New York City, U.S.A.

Sligo Champion 5 June 1915

In Loving Memory of Mrs. Owen Minan,
   who died June 4 th, 1914.

Just a year of tears and sorrow,
    Just a year of grief and woe,
Since you left us, mother darling,
    To a happier world to go.
For the Master’s voice had called thee
    To the far-off Golden Shore,
And you answered, "I am coming
    To Thee, Lord for evermore."

We have missed thee, mother dearest,
    With thy cheerful winning smile,
And thy voice of love and laughter,
    We have missed it all the while.
But in Faith and Hope, dear mother,
    We shall try to feel resigned,
And to bravely bear the sorrows
    Of thy loved one left behind.
Inserted by her loving husband and children.

    In Loving Memory of my brother, John,
      who departed this life April 1, 1915.

Though far away from Cloonacool, on this Columbia shore,
My thought do wander daily to the land that I adore,
With dreams of the dear old hillside, the church yard and the school,
With its babbling brooks and shady nooks –that’s dear old Cloonacool.

But today I’m sad and lonely, for my brother John is sleeping there,
So close to church and homestead, where we daily knelt in prayer,
With no sound to disturb his slumbers except the rustling leaves,
Or the drops of dew from the heavens as they drip from the willow trees.

Oh, how I wish for those childhood days, where, full of life and joy,
We fished for trout in the summer time by the banks of the river Moy;
In dreams I see those scenes again, but my waking hours are sad
When I think of those days so long gone by and the happy times we’ve had.

I can see my dear old mother as she stood there lone and brave,
And watched her dear son departing for his home beyond the grave;
I can hear the church bells ringing each morning bright and cool
Where we offered up our fervent prayers at Mass in Cloonacool.
                                                   MARTIN FRANCIS DOYLE.

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