Two Of The Long Forgotten

The Spring was windy, wet and cold the Summer much the same
Poor Seanie he felt tired and old his wife Brid frail and lame
Four acres and three cows to their name their best cow she had died
Two of the many rural poor in a poor countryside.

It had been a year since their only offspring Padraig had died he had just turned twenty five
A burst appendix his undoing such a thing then none did survive
In early Fall the river in flood roared it's way to the sea
The future seemed bleak to say the least for two in poverty.

But worse news was to reach their ears Cromwell's army was here
And in their small hovel by the hill they worried in their fear
Of dispossession and the life of the no fixed abode
The drains were full the wind blew chill down the old black dirt road.

On a clear and crisp October dawn Cromwell's soldiers to them came
The captain a rough and burly sort of a bloke he called them out by name
He spoke in a strange accent in a language they did not understand
He pointed them to the roadway with one angry wave of his hand.

This was a forced eviction in their home they could not stay
With only the clothes on them they were put on the roadway
'To hell or else to Connacht' the Cromwellian war cry
Those who would not make it to the bleak west of exposure to die.

On their first night on the road west they slept by a hedgerow
The rain came down in drizzles and the chilly winds did blow
Their clothes wet and heavy on them they were drenched to the skin
Poor Brid felt very hungry and she looked so frail and thin.

By mid morning she was dying she pleaded of him with her not to stay
Go save yourself my beloved one the west still a long way
But he would not leave her to die alone he sat there by her side
And in the early afternoon he held her to him as she died.

He did not have a shovel for to dig a grave so he covered her with branches instead
And by her final resting place he knelt and a prayer said
For the only love he ever knew his soulmate and best friend
As he wept for her he also knew his own life soon would end.

He struggled on alone and sad so hungry, wet and cold
He looked a man of ninety nine not fifty eight years old
That night he slept the sleep of death under boughs of a beech tree
A gray crow cawed in the gray dawn but the dawn he did not see.

Two of the long forgotten lost in the centuries of time
To be poor and unprotected it was their only crime
But life has not changed any for the poor souls of today
Some of them are made Homeless and die in a tragic way.

by Francis Duggan

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