The fair day in those bygone years
Was fun for young and old,
The sheep and cattle, hens and ducks,
And stallions big and bold.
The travelling people came in droves ,
Brawny, red faced rough,
How much for that scrawny piebald?
“Fifty Pounds”, Not fair enough.”
They spat upon their hard brown palms,
And clasped the seller’s hand,
And rubbed the mare on back and head,
Then gave a sneering laugh.
“Your piebald, Sir, is very old
Its teeth are black as turf
‘Twill die before this day is o’er,”
Said the seller, “That’s fair enough”.
He took his piebald and began to walk,
His caipin sideways wore,
The travellers followed, full of talk,
But you’d swear he was deaf and broke.
“I’ll give you forty”, the tinker cried,
And then we’ll drink a sup,
Of the finest porter in the Roughty Bar,
Says the farmer,”That’s fair enough”.
The farmer and the travelling man
Clasped hands and shouted loud,
They tied the piebald to a pole,
And each one stood a round
Of the finest brew, all black and white,
Real frothy, white as doves
Clinging to their beards and nose,
“Good luck, the deal’s fair enough”.
But the fair day in our town has changed,
The crowds are not as big,
The youth have had to emigrate,
Few farmers keep a pig.
The old men thump their black thorn sticks,
On the pavement grey and rough
To face an empty house and home,
My God it’s not fair enough.
The old man rambles home at ease,
No wife to greet his call,
He buried her one Autumn day,
She always loved the Fall,
When oats and wheat and barley too,
Were stored in the old brown loft,
Ah those were the happy days indeed,
Though poor, life was fair enough.
He poked the fire with his old black stick,
And gazed at Mary’s face,
It was their wedding picture fine
He remembered well that day,
When he held her in his arms so strong
Saying” I’d die for you my love”
She rolled her two black roguish eyes,
Saying “How romantic, fair enough”.
The years flew by so quickly,
Each year, she bore a child,
They reared six sons so handsome,
Four daughters, and the one who died.
How Mary loved each child that came
They were gifts from heaven above
She always said,” they are like himself”,
With pride he said; “Fair enough”.
And then that day, not long ago,
Poor Mary slipped and fell
On the big rock in the haggard.
She was coming from the well.
He put his arms around her
But she smiled and went above
Into the great oblivion
Where God said “fair enough”.
Her sons and daughters came in haste,
They laid her on the couch.
With sheets as white as snow drops,
And candles lighting ’round.
The neighbours came in silent groups
They sat and praised her worth
“A mother and a model wife
A grand woman, she was “fair enough”.
In the graveyard by the harbour,
They laid her down to rest,
The tears they shed in millions
For Mary was the best.
And then they all returned back
To their homes by plane and bus
Leaving one lone father
But his memories were fair enough.
He felt too old to run a farm,
He sold the stock, one day,
The pony and the dark brown trap,
And the remainder of the hay.
The piebald cold and Shep, the dog,
He kept and his favourite duck,
A cock, some hens for eggs to lay,
“Praise God, that’s fair enough.”
He bought a Tele to watch at night,
He marveled at its power,
He gazed at lands so far away.
He one time heard about.
And now in peace, he watches them,
By his glowing fire of turf,
A happy man, though all alone,
No complaints, so fair enough.
And then one day he got a phone,
His family paid the bill,
Then every week, at night time too,
Their voices were a thrill.
They rang from Sidney and New York,
From Nigeria and San Fe Tuff.
To say “Hello” to the Dad they loved,
Good children, says he,” fair enough”
One evening, it was early Spring,
There came a knock on the door,
He slowly peered and opened it,
Guess who stood on his floor.
A lady grand with snow white hair,
‘Twas Mary’s sister Thrush,
The image of the wife he loved
Holy God, it’s you, fair enough.
“I came”, says she from Boston,
I’m alone since Jack passed away,
We never had a child of our own,
So I sold all I had out there”
He stared at this comely lady,
Like Mary from head to cuff,
“Come in, you’re more than welcome,
Mile Fáilte, fair enough.
Then Fr. Pat, the parish priest,
Called to the house one day,
He stroked his rugged forehead,
There was a slight frown on his face.
You two should now get married.
Time waits for no train or bus,
“Be God you’re right the old man said,
“We’re no chickens, but fair enough.”
He felt the power of Heaven,
‘Twas Mary’s prayers were heard,
She always said she’d look after him,
In life and even in death.
She sent the one just like herself,
Her wee baby sister Thrush,
Who needed help in her golden years,
Praise God, always “Fair Enough”.
Copyright Máiréad Tuohy Duffy (C)2004