Take your leave
The farm held us together, made us braver,
better spirits than we might have been.
The blessed power of labour and sweat
that joined brothers an fathers and uncles
over the backs of young bulls in a crush
losing horn and losing balls.
We became men at ten or eleven.
A half hundred weight sack on an immature back
breaking bones in some future time.
Pain to come but today you are men
as you hoist the weight onto narrow shoulders.
The high seat of a blue ford five thousand,
a three furrow plough breaking lea
from break of day to dusk.
barely teens and already its,
to hell with school,
learnings for fools
and we are no fools. Better to grow
and earn than sit and yearn behind hot windows
when air and sun were free.
But times changed and what was once large
was then small no room for us all
on limited acreage.
Best go look for wages elsewhere.
When every ounce of skin and blood
was spent only on the flood of work here.
And now to leave with no idea of the world
beyond a farm gate and warm feet
on the high seat of a ford five thousand.
So apart we lost heart, no longer brave
but scared to death of a new world well met
but unknown to we who had grown strong
on a farm where ground no longer grew or needed sons.
© Dave Kavanagh @ daithiocaomanaigh.com