John Tobin



Thank you for the memories

That you have given me,

Your life with May and Rody

In your home in Boherbee.


My head is filled with happy times,

I can see them still so clear,

When I close my eyes at night time

So many things seem near.


Cutting timber with the crosscut,

Pulping mangolds in the shed,

Sowing long straight drills of Kerrs Pinks,

Watching hens and calves being fed.


You ploughed the fields in springtime,

Your drills were straight and long,

Your wrists, tho’ slight, were muscular

And sinewy and strong.


You always ploughed with horses

As you prepared for sowing,

The “red” belonged to Corbins,

The black horse was your own.


The meadow, too, has memories,

When our backs were brown and tanned,

I remember pulling butts of trams

And getting thistles in my hand.


I remember making trams of hay,

And working on ‘till late,

But my ould trams kept falling down,

While yours remained up straight.


And “Shep” came to the meadow,

He was one of Peter Treacy’s dogs,

And while we were forking up the hay,

Shep was barking at the frogs.


I remember too you killed the pigs

For the neighbours all around,

And I often held the bucket

To keep the blood from off the ground.


Joe Sheehan’s was the last you killed,

If memory serves me right,

There was pork steak then for supper

When you finished up that night.


I recall, too, you thatched the roofs

With your sally rods and straw,

And the finished product was as good

As any roof you saw.


There was Sunday night in Peter’s pub,

When you were so alive,

You drank your glass of whiskey

And played your forty-five.


You could turn your hand to any job,

You always had a knack

Of making things look easy,

Never having to go back.


Your memory, too, impressed me,

You had powers of great recall,

You told it as it happened,

Your tales were never tall.


These memories I will cherish,

As today we come to pray,

And we remember Boherbee,

Yourself, and Rodge, and May.


Written by Michael O’Brien & published 

in Mining the Past 2014

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