Drawing of the book cover Water Under the Railway Bridge by Bill Gerty

26 Fond Memories of My Land



It is now nearing the end of April nineteen-forty-seven and it's Sunday morning, I am going away on the Monday morning and everyone knows that, except Eddie. I had been picking up courage all week to break the news to him so Sunday afternoon I walked down the platform to where he was leaning on the crossing gate, he often stood there in his spare time waiting for someone to have a chat to. These gates seemed to be a meeting point for many people in Killyran. I told him that I was going into the RAF and that I would be leaving tomorrow morning. He said "I hope you know what you are doing but I wish you all the best." I knew deep down that he was as pleased as punch but he did not show it, I bet the next day he told everyone that he saw the news. He would relish the thought of his nephew being in the forces as his loyalties were with the crown.
On the Monday morning I was up early I strolled down to the gates and leaned on them while I was waiting for the train to arrive I could hear the usual sounds of the country birds singing, the noise of horses and carts, people putting their animals out in the fields after milking and big Paddy the horse that I often worked with munching grass in Goodwin's field opposite. Memories of yester years were flashing past in my mind and I wondered in years to come would all the young people in Killyran get up and leave home like me and there would be nothing left.


I read a poem the other day that summed up my feelings on that particular morning.

Rusty bucket and broken pot
Midst nettles with fierce sting
Wood spade handle soft with rot
From another age each thing

Cottage ruins tumbled down
Barley a trace is seen
But I can well remember how
It looked in it's prime, I mean.

Long and low with roof of thatch
Windows square but small
Walls of cob an iron latch
On the door through a sturdy wall

My heart is there where once I grew
Surrounded by family
Each nook and secret place I knew
In that place so dear to me

The door to the house is broken
Brambles cast a prickly shade
As I gaze not a word is spoken
My land where memories were made.


But should memories be allowed to mellow in the mind, to fade into soft gentle shades of sepia like sunset at the end of a day. I can hear the train coming up from Bawnboy so I make my way back up the platform and say my goodbyes. We steam away from Killyran, I look out through tear stained eyes as the little whitewashed thatched houses flash past in a blur. I am leaving behind these happy band of hard working people but should they all fade away their names and memories will I hope not be forgotten through this book.


© Bill Gerty 1995  

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