Monday, 22 October 2012

Postcript: On the Road from Thomastown

The Good Shepherd

Every winter’s night a solitary figure steps out the road from Thomastown.
Here’s how you’ll know him; 
‘Tidy bundle of hay under one arm; quarter-filled meal bag in the other’! 
“I’ll stop for a chat” 
Wintry squalls tormented us but Pat was not bothered. 
“Clover Hill; Ballinvella; Smooth Stepper; Delmaine; a great horsewoman from Kinnity and someone from Clondra.” 

I took my leave “stock of my own” and ‘tipped’ back to Trim. 
Strange how the parable of the Good Shepherd kept coming to mind. 

When next I heard, Pat was dead and buried. 
They say Peter himself was ‘on the gate’. 
“Come in a mhic-Come in!”
Down here we just say “may the green sod rest lightly on our grave, Pat.” 

T.J.G.

PS: If you ever happen down that windswept road and the night is dark enough
Chances are you'll meet Pat still 'stepping out'. 
Make an effort for a chat;
He likes to 'keep in touch'. 

Appreciation of Pat Coffey, Thomastown, Killucan, died 8th May 1995.

The Good Shepherd originally appeared in the form of a dedication to the book I Want to Really Learn about Horses by T.J. Gillespie (aka Tom na gCapaillín).



Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Return of Ferdinand Fox

Dear Editor,

Do you remember me? - the cheeky cub that told you all the happenings in Porchfields. I had two brothers and a sister and a super Mammy and we lived in an earth near the Sheepgate, a great place for growing up - we knew all the 'regulars'; Linda Gunning Joe McNally, Tom na gCapaillin - that was May 2000.

In the autumn I left home and linked up with a few 'buckos' around Tara Mine. Boy! We fairly hit the hot spots in Navan; ravished the odd pheasant hatchery and poultry run - just for practice. I was cute enough to stay away from Trim - think of the 'dressing-down' I'd get from Mom: 
"You're turning into a right hooligan - a disgrace after a respectable rearing!"
But life can put manners on you. On the 13th April this year I got word - "A gang of blackguards dug out your mother's earth and killed her in cold blood and slung her body up into a fork of the beech tree - like a common criminal." I was sick with grief - blamed myself: "Why did you not stay to protect her." The cold horror of it. "I hate humans!" 

For weeks I wandered the countryside, not caring for food nor cover - scarcely knowing where I was. This morning I found myself back in Porchfields beside the Yellow Steeple and who should I see but Tom na gCapaillín. He hasn't changed a bit - same quiet gentleman. Pauline called him Bomso: she put a 'B' before everything - a slow learner - 'unusual in a woman' Mom used to say with a smile. 

I began to feel better even though a half-dozen 'hoors' of spiteful swallows never stopped buzzing me. When a fellow is down, there'll be those to pick on you! I'll find inner peace again - already people are offering sympathy. They want to see the blackguards punished. "Write a letter to the paper" they say and now I've done that. 

Thank you very sincerely, 

Your friend

Ferdinand

Reproduced from: Trim Focus, 24th June, 2005

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