A poem by Gerry (Mickey Frank) Maguire


The clock strikes four on this foreign shore, beside my sleepless bed.

The harvest moon is full and bright and memories fill my head.

I can see it still and I always will with longing and desire,

When the rafters rang and we danced and sang

Round Phil McDonnell's fire.



Oh how long its been, I was scarce sixteen,

When first I rapped his door

And Phil all smiles and strange beguiles

Standing there on the kitchen floor.


Each local youth in the quest for truth

In the sixties strange attire

Had come to base to state his case

Round Phil McDonnell's fire.


When Phil had bread, we were all well-fed

And we left his cupboard bare.

There was sometimes meat, or trifle sweet

And sometimes liquid fare.

We nourished body, mind and soul

But our host did never tire

As we shared our smokes and foolish jokes

Round Phil McDonnell's fire.


We talked of gods and local cods, of love and lassies too;

Of martyrdom and treachery, and of dreams that might come true.

But emigration robbed our ranks-with consequences dire.

And one by one the youth moved on

From Phil McDonnell's fire.


There's many a shack round Cuilcagh's back

That's empty cold and lone.

There's many a lamp that will never light

and many a cold hearthstone.

But in the hearts in far of parts theses flames burn ever higher

As young and old there dreams unfold

Round Phil McDonnell's fire.


Full many a night in fancy flight I visit there once more

And laugh again with those young men

As in the day of yore.

When Mawn or Wynne would shout "come in

your welcome young Maguire".

And how I miss those nights of bliss

Round Phil McDonnell's fire.


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