An Ode To My Childhood by Frank McEleny
(There is one example of stronger language — in verse 15 — that some may find offensive)
The Broomy it was home to me,
In a different time and place,
My mind drifts back to long ago,
And brings a smile upon my face.
Bruno’s chips and tick fae Pat,
And lard from the butcher’s shop,
The Broomhill Bar and Tally vans,
Which Bruno always tried to stop.
Snowball fights in winter-time,
And sledges racin’ doon the hill,
And snowmen seen in every green,
And extra socks to fight the chill.
In summertime the days were long,
We wandered far and we were free,
To climb the hills and walk the Cut,
As long as we were hame for tea.
Fitba games and soldiers too,
And curby on the street,
And tennis at the Mill Street Park,
And youth clubs where we would meet.
Morton games and Morton rolls,
And pies and Bovril too,
The Cowshed boys and Dublin End,
They all come into view.
Drunken men with change for weans,
And fights ootside the pub,
Fish and chips and carry oots,
Now where’s the joy? ah there’s the rub
Nick-names runnin’ through ma mind,
Reminds me of so many friends,
Somehow faded in the mists of time,
When did our names come to an end?
There was Squid and Elmo, big Slim too,
Snooper, Scally, Paw and Sire,
Now all the names have ceased to be,
In time these aliases retire.
There was railroad tracks and chooky hens,
And ropeworks in dis-repair,
Harry Friel’s and the Murdy Dam,
Ye dare not swim in there.
The Mavy boys would come to fight,
Brave men would hold the line,
Carry oots up the Broomy Park,
And beer washed doon wi wine.
We raided orchards, climbed for cheggys,
And always looked for old pram wheels,
In darken cellars and scrapyards too,
With watch-dogs snappin at oor heels.
Only the bravest of the brave,
Would race doon Mount Pleasant Street,
But that’s where bravery was born,
To survive was no mean feat.
Golf baw divin’ up the Beezy,
Only attempted when hot and breezy,
And when a Strojan wid appear,
We ran doon hills, laughin wi fear.
Commando courses through the backs,
Faces blackened in the night,
Through Lemmon, Lime and Pine St too,
And the man would shout “Go on ya wee shite.”
A portion o’ chips bought wi’ bottles,
Ah they never tasted so sweet,
Around every corner they might be found,
Lemonade bottles in the street.
Chips for yer tea every night,
With a quarter of spam, what a joke,
And ma mother never fails to correct me,
“It wisnae spam, it was chopped ham and pork.”
And when asked for a raise for her keep,
My sister replied with alarm,
“Five extra pounds a week,
For two extra slices of spam?”
And now we look through rose-coloured glasses,
At all our childhood days gone by,
Days that are gone and lost forever,
We look in the mirror and we give a sigh.
But look again and shut your eyes,
Can you hear the children play?
These days are gone, but in your heart,
They’re never very far away.