The Old Days - And The New

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‘Mid wattle scents and sounds of Spring,
The old man, dreaming in his chair,
Is back where skylarks soar and sing
In sunshine, o’er the hills of Clare.
And since all Irishmen have been,
True lovers, since the world began,
A flush still tints his withered cheek
At thoughts of Bessie Quinlevan.

‘Ah Danny, lad, she was the girl,
So fine and straight in all her ways,
The price of every dance and fair,
There’s no such women nowadays!”
Young Danny, plaiting stockwhip thongs,
Smiles o’er his grandsire’s lock of grey,
Rememb’ring with a lovers pride,
The wild-rise grace of Betty Shea.

The old man in his dreams pursues,
Through hurling fields the flying ball,
Where his swift stroke was keen and strong,
And his the fleetest foot of all.
While Danny whistling as he goes,
Thinks of the latest football fray,
Leading the victors down the field,
Beneath the smile of Betty Shea.

Sweet Bessie Quinleven is gone,
In Clare churchyard her body lies,
Her gentle soul has blossomed long
Amid the flowers of Paradise.
But through the sweetness of the Spring,
By winding paths with wattle gay,
Radiant with youth and happy love,
Young Danny rides with Betty Shea.

© Alice Guerin Crist