Oh Grandpa, I’m taking this pen in my hand
To tell of the changes that’s happened this land
In big, swanky houses we’re living in style
But they’ve wrecked and they’ve poisoned this Emerald Isle.
Remember the corncrake in the meadow would call
Well, the nearest you’ll find one is West Donegal
It was grand when Granny would bring us the tae
When you done the pitching and I built the hay.
Some people sit silent half the day and all night
Sure I’m thankful eventually when they put out the light
Of that box in the corner – it’s pictures they watch
From garbled conversing, the odd word ye might catch.
You know how the neighbours from the wee house’d call
An’ they’d tell all their stories, the big and the small
Ah ’twas grand when our Granny would get up to say
‘There’s new griddle bread for a wee drop of tae.’
You’ll mind the wee planting where the wild woodcock lay
How the larks in the springtime make their nests in the hay
Well, now they cut silage, foul slurry they spread
The larks’ nests are ruined, the woodcock is dead.
And sometimes you taught me in the brook to catch trout
With a twist of your hand you could scoop the fish out
Och ’twas grand when the sun made the pure water gleam
Now the farmers and factories have poisoned the stream.
I can still feel my feet catch the new stubbled sod
When you scythed the corn and I held the rod
The long-snedded scythe o’er your shoulder you’d heel
The stone made sweet music as you honed the fine steel.
But now there’s big combines in the fields all around
That in ten dusty minutes cut an acre of ground
But for all their great power, they blight my new dawn
For the scythe, like you Granda, is buried and gone.
Each evening you’d loose out the horse to be fed
And I rode on his back as you walked at his head
And although I’m near sixty I still feel his sweat
And my heart it feels heavy, and my eyes they are wet.
For I still see his collar where it hung on the jamb
And the pig that we killed for the bacon and ham
How you walked from your work and I sat on your head
And the sweet air was scented with Granny’s baked bread.
As you sat at the milking, on the cow’s side you’d lean
Now the cows are all joined to a milking machine
Even they now have their parlours, like the toffs in your day
And we open a bottle to milk our wee cup of tae.
But my life is near over, why should I complain?
As I sit and look out at the bleak acid rain
But I’m sad for the children as I watch them at play
They’ve dumped their foul waste and polluted the say.
So goodbye to you, Granda, though I still could go on
About things that are past, about days that are gone
But it’s well to be you that has had your long day
When we worked with the horse; with a fork made the hay.
And we kept the best straw for to mend the old thatch
Whereas now on our trousers you’d ne’er see a patch
Och it’s now that I’m thinking I’ll see you ere long
Where’s there’s fish in the streams and the lark’s still in song.