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           Sligo Independent
           19 February 1916

          THE WEST’S AWAKE!

[By John Ginty.]

“The West’s awake! The West’s awake!”
And hears the bugle’s call,
While Turks lament, Bulgarians quake,
And ruthless Germans fall.
Too long, too long, have bygone sores
Been nursed, though in decay;
It does not matter what they were,
It’s what we are today!

The West’s awake! The West’s awake!”
And Connaught’s fearless sons,
Are charging forth for justice sake,
To crush the cowardly Huns.
What tho’ the clouds of yestere’en
Had dimmed the sunlight ray,
It does not matter what they’ve been,
When freedom smiles today.

The West’s awake! The West’s awake!”
And knows the Belgians’ pain;
The fate that Ireland too would meet,
If Germans crossed the main.
Though narrow minds may vainly cling
To shadows passed away,
It does not matter what we were,
It’s what we are today!

The West’s awake! The West’s awake!”
And loudly sounds the theme,
That England’s war is Ireland’s, too,
And rings by vale and stream:
The Leinster and the Munster boys,
With Ulster join and say:
It does not matter what we were,
It’s what we are today!

The West’s awake! The West’s awake!”
And echoes Ireland’s pride—
The unity of brotherhood
That swept bygones aside.
The scene has changed in many a clime,
And all the nations say:
It does not matter what we were,
It’s what we are today!

Kilmore, Ballina.


                 Sligo Independent
                  19 February 1916


The following lines have been forwarded from the Front for publication in the Independent:—

I must tell you of the life we’re livin’ here,
It’s the queerest sort of life you ever led;
There are quiet little moments when we sit and dream of beer,
And at other times we wonder if we’re dead.
When the aeroplanes stop buzzin’ and the shells quit whistlin’ tunes,
And the lark commences singin’ in the sky,
’Pon me word it just reminds me of those peaceful afternoons
That we often used to have at Athenry.

We’re livin’ near a village where the Boch’s biggest gun
Has battered all the buildings in the place;
The church’s alterations have been greatly overdone,
The public-house is lying on its face.
The doors and walls and window-frames have wandered wide and far,
They’ll take a lot of findin’ by and bye;
When the landlord and the agent come to ax where they are,
Sure, we’ll be back again in Athenry.

Though some may live in houses and in glorious chataus,
The likes of them would never cross my mind;
I scorn their loft battlements and wide extensive views,
And take the lowliest dwelling I can find.
’Tis but a little dug-out, and I pay no rent or toll,
And I go in when shells begin to fly;
Then I light my bit of fire and the smoke goes through a hole,
The same as what it does at Athenry.

Now, if there are any boys about who are slow to join the fun,
And are propping up the corners of the street,
Just ax them
what they’re goin’ to do when everything is done,
When all their old companions they will meet.
For we’ll have all the glories, the stories and the news,
And the girls will give us each their gladdest eye;
’Pon my soul I wouldn’t like to stand in any slacker’s shoes,
The day that we get home to Athenry.

I could write a longer letter, but the time is drawing near
When the canteen calls me in to get a drink,
So I’ll close this one at present, in the hope that, Katie dear,
It will find you, as it leaves, in the pink.
Now don’t be lonely, Katie, I’ll be coming home again,
Before the pigs begin to learn to fly;
With our separation money we will both be right as rain,
If you haven’t spent it all in Athenry.

             Sligo Independent
                27 May 1916

            MOTHER AND SON.

[For Music.—Copyright.]

With beat of drum the troops march by
   And the band is proudly playing;
And I bend low with tear-dimm’d eye,
   For my heart is slowly saying—
        ‘Away in France somewhere he lies,
My lad that marched with the men;
       And my longing soul and weary eyes
Shall never see him again.’

How well he looked, and glanced aside
   To smile at his ‘Darling Mother’;
And I –I beamed on him with pride,
   For where was there such another?
        ‘And now–somewhere in France he lies,
My boy who marched with the men;
       And dim are the longing weary eyes
For my soldier lad again.’

‘God keep you mother, till I return,’
   Were the farewell words he said;
And eye may weep and cheek may burn,
   For he lies low with the dead.
       In blanket would somewhere he lies,
My boy who marched with the men;
       Nor hears my tears nor piteous cries
To come to me once again!’

Yet surely shall I behold my boy
   Beyond where the river is flowing,
For it is a land of purest joy
   The land to which I’m going;
       And gaze once more on the sweet blue eyes
Of him who marched with the men;
       For God shall unite the broken ties
Of mother and son again.’

Enniskillen.    W.C.T.

               Sligo Independent
                14 October 1916


They roar across the rough country like a gale;
They lean against a house and push it down.
They’re like a baby fortress under sail
And antic as a three-ring circus clown.

Sam says they’re slow. They may seem so to him—
They can’t show fancy mile-a-minute stuff;
But when they charge, in armoured fighting trim,
You bet the Germans find them fast enough.

O.C.A. Child. New York Times.

      Sligo Independent
     25 November 1916

    Flowers for the Brave

Here bring your purple and gold,
    Glory of colour and scent,
Scarlet of tulips bold,
    Buds blue as the firmament.

Hushed is the sound of the fife
    And the bugle piping clear,
The vivid and delicate life
    In the soul of the youthful year

We bring to the quiet dead,
    With a gentle and tempered grief,
O'er the mounds so mute we shed
    The beauty of blossom and leaf.

The flashing swords that were drawn,
    No rust shall their fame destroy,
Boughs rosy as rifts of dawn,
    Like the blush on the cheek of joy!

Rich fires of the gardens and meads
    We kindle, these hearts above!
What splendour can match their deeds?
    What sweetness can match our love?


There were fewer "war poems" in the Sligo newspapers of 1916 as compared to 1915. This reflected the fact that voluntary recruiting was no longer an issue since the introduction of conscription in Great Britain. The six poems published show a variety of approach but the messages were the same, the bravery of the Irish regiments, the need for more soldiers to enlist and the sadness of the mothers left behind.

The poems come from a variety of authors and sources. The name John Ginty is very common in north Mayo but the author of is possibly the c
emetery caretaker and insured agent in Kilmoremoy. He was 42 in 1911. Incidentally he and his wife Catherine had six children in their eleven years of marriage not sixteen as the transcription states!

"Athenry" may have been written by a Galway soldier but might just as well been composed at home by a Sligo poet who thought the town name had a nice ring to it and was easy to rhyme.

The only poem of these not written at the time of World War 1 was "Flowers for the Brave". C.T. was lt Celia Laighton Thaxter (1835–1894) an American writer of poetry and stories who born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She became one of America's favorite authors in the late 19th century. This poem was first published with the subtitle "DECORATION DAY, 1883". Decoration Day has since been renamed Memorial Day and is a US federal holiday for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. (Pictured above)

"Mother and Son" was most probably written by William Copeland Trimble (1851–1941) who owned and ran the The Impartial Reporter newspaper, in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. His "Collected Poems" was published in 1917. He published a substantial history of Enniskillen in three volumes between 1919 and 1921. He was a determined opponent of Home Rule and founded the Enniskillen Horse in 1912 to take part in the anti-Home Rule campaign. The Enniskillen Horse then became the sole Cavalry Regiment of the Ulster Volunteer Force.

"Tanks" is a six stanza poem. The Sligo Independent, for some reason, printed only stanzas four and five. The whole poem can be read here. This poem was included in
"The War in Verse and Prose" edited by W. D. Eaton, published in  London in 1918 and reprinted as "Great Poems of the World War" in Chicago in 1922. The author, Oscar C.A. Child, had a number of poems included in newspapers and journals around this time including one entitled "Jerusalem" in The Times in 14 March 1917. He was also a regular contributor to Harper's Monthly during 1916-17. His poem "To A Hero" was included in "A Treasury of War Poetry", 1917, edited by George Herbert Clarke.

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