Tuesday, November 23

Dougie's Poem.

It was always my opinion that mum was the one who fostered my love of music and poetry.
She sent me for lessons in singing, piano and speech and drama from the age of five.
She sat with me through the competitions and exams from the various societies, and coped when I didn't get the best of results or looked pleased when I did!
But an e-mail from my sister this week had me thinking about dad and his artistic leanings.
For a start, he sang from the moment that he got up until he left the house for work. And that was no quiet humming...that was a loud and often headache inducing baritone singing. Sometimes an old Irish folksong, sometimes a rousing hymn....."Rock of ages" ... was a favourite.
Mum played the piano, dad played the fiddle.
Mum painted oils, dad wrote poetry....Ah that had slipped my mind completely!

So here is one of dad's poems about his beloved Corkley in Armagh where he grew up.

                The Land of my Birth

Did you ever hear the call of the corncrake in the corn?
Did you ever hear the cuckoo when you rise up in the morn?
Did you ever hear a cock crow on the sound of Darkley Horn?
Have you ever been to Corkley, the place where I was born?

They say the sun shines brighter there, the moon gives whiter light;
The stars a dazzling twinkle give when they come out at night;
The grass it grows much greener there, the cows give richer cream;
The birds they sing much sweeter there or that's the way it seems;

It's nearly fifty years now since I left my kith and kin;
To settle in the city and a new life to begin;
But every time that I return to the place where I was born;
The chatter of the birds I love but I miss the Darkley Horn.

                                     Douglas McClelland
Photograph taken around the time that he left for the city.

[We've left the punctuation that he put in the poem]


  1. I don't think I ever was in Corkley but I sure remember Darkley due to the dreadful massacre that Sunday night all those years ago.

    I can remember my grandma always listening out for the cuckoo - I heard her speak less often about the corncrake.

  2. Funny that, how some places just seem to get into the bloodstream & we carry them with us all our days. ☺ Seems your dad had more than his fair share of the Irish love of beautiful language!

  3. I didn't know he was a poet. love it though!

  4. thankyou for your kind comments. Dad often also used gaelic words which I'm ashamed to say I've mostly forgotten.I think that he always hoped that he would go back to Corkley but mum was too much of a city woman and he adored her....so that was that!


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