To the memory of Michael Hensey 1950 - 2005
The poetry of Michael Hensey has a rich lyrical quality inspired by a devoted family life and a love of wildlife and landscape. Ballads and laments remember years spent in the Isle of Man, Donegal and County Mayo. Earlier poems recall his boyhood years in Tullamore, on the banks of the Grand Canal. His finest verses are those dedicated to his loving wife Marian and adoring daughter Clíona.
The decision to publish Michael's poems and songs has been a fortunate coincidence. For his friends and work colleagues in Tullamore it has provided an appropriate medium in which to honour both his memory and his literary talents. For his wife and daughter, it will enshrine fond words of love dedicated to them over the last twenty years. Above all, it fulfils an ambition cherished by Michael himself.
This commemorative volume celebrates his fine literary achievement.
I would I had a stitchwort spray
from out some leafy woodland bower
to weave with daisies in your hair
for this festive day and hour;
modest violet, bashful and blue,
to lace with languid columbine;
flowers to tell of my love for you
that you might be my Valentine. But Winter wields his frosty power
and few are the flowers in nature's store;
so please in place of herb and flower
accept my heart for evermore.
Apples cling in the orchard still,
though October winds have blown. Hazelnuts high on the ringfort hill
cluster untouched, ripe brown. Down in the garden the nettle is king,
briars run riot on the walls. Toys scattered, once were a child's treasured things;
doll's pram, eyeless doll's head, sunbleached rubber balls. Neddy the donkey rules the rush grown marsh field,
unpared hooves curled like Tudor men's shoes.
When we are old and our hair is white
there'll still be pleasures to give us delights,
a cup of cocoa by the dancing flames,
recollections of old friends' names.
When the wind round the chimney
screams loud and shrill
and the snow lies thick on Fairy Hill
the fire will lick the turf ...
dance and hiss ...
I used to love to sit by the old lock gate
and hear the tumbling waters roar
in carefree dreamy boyhood days
in dear, sweet Tullamore.
The summer air held a magic rare
with charm the soul to enthral
in the restful eves among the spangled leaves
on the green, grassy banks of the Grand Canal.
© Text copyright 2005, The Ringfort Press.