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Back to School

<< Back to the main Stories/poems page

Willie, it is half past eight,
And I fear you will be late.
Don't forget your teacher's rule,
Take your cap and run to school.

Mother, I am tired today,
Let me stay at home, I pray.
The air is warm, close and thick,
And really I am almost sick.

Your cheek is red, your eye is bright,
Your hand is cool, your step is light;
At breakfast time, you ate your fill,
How can it be that you are ill?

True, Mother, I am not sick enough
To take my bed, or doctor's stuff.
But here at home, pray let me stay,
For I want to run about and play!

Ah, that's the thing now, let me say,
Next June, you nine will be,
And if you often stay at home,
What of your learning will become?

A day is not much time, you know.
I learn but little, if I go.
Besides I have no time at all
To try my marbles and my ball.

The bee gains little from a flower,
A stone a day will rise a tower,
Yet hives are filled, and towers are done,
For steadily the work goes on.

Thank you to one of our readers, who sent in the above poem, which she recalled her father, Paddy Keogh, reciting to her on going back to school each year. Paddy had this particular poem published in Ireland's Own more than seventy years ago.