Northwards twenty miles from Derry, dear old Derry Columcille
Midway on the road that takes you from Buncrana to Moville,
‘Twixt the mountains and the ocean, ‘midst the glens of Donegal,
Where the white waves o’er Strabrega bound to hear Manannan’s call,
In the heart of Inishowen, loyal land of Cahir O
Nestles Carn: Carndonagh, boyhood’s home of long ago.

Not the rugged glens or mountains, not the hills or pleasant braes
Not the waters wild, Atlantic, not the loughs or bending bays,
Not the rivers where the salmon seeks far up the gravel bed,
Not the distant bends of Binnion where the sun is setting, red,
Draws my heart to Carndonagh where I wandered long ago.
Dear old Carn: Carndonagh in the land of Cahir O.

Home is there, a mother praying for her son so far away;
There is a father, like St. Joseph, faithful toils the lifelong day;
There is a brother, strong and prudent, and a sister fond of me –
These thy bonds, old Carndonagh, these the bonds that bind to thee:
Friends are there, whom time and distance daily made the dearer grow,
God be with you Friends of Carn, in the land of Cahir O.

Still I see the school house standing, down below the Barrack Hill,
Whilst old schoolmates round me gather, till the eyes begin to fill –
For amongst them one is missing, whom I hoped to meet again,
Once to double all his triumphs, or perhaps, divide his pain.
Little thought I when we parted, and he wept that I should go
That no more we’d meet in Carn, in the land of Cahir O.

And the Chapel chased and cherished, brings to mind one happy day
When I made my First Communion, still half dreading to betray
Him who called us to His Banquet, there to make us wise and good –
Till today, dear Lord, I thank Thee for that first taste of Thy Food;
Till today around that altar I can hear the murmur low
That from pious lips is breaking in the land of Cahir O.

But another sound comingles with the humble voices there,
For I hear the dear departed calling me to breathe a prayer;
Fresh as grows the grass above them, deep as in the sculptured stone.
In my heart their names are graven, fond, familiar as my own,
And I wander through the churchyard, seek each resting place I know
Where they wait the angel’s trumpet, in the land of Cahir O.

Once again I’m leaving Carn, and the last place that I see
Is the Convent, Mount St. Mary’s, just above the fairy-tree;
And the lamp is ever burning which through yonder window shines –
‘Tis the light before the altar, round which every head inclines,
As I saw them oft in boyhood – modest, veiled and bending low,
Bringing blessings down on Carn, in the land of Cahir O.

Written at St. Joseph’s College, Columbo, Ceylon: June 1906

Leave a Reply