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Trinity College Dublin

Dublin University Harriers and Athletic Club

Poetry

The Harriers

There's a spot in Chapelizod where it straggles o'er the Liffey
'Tis a house in common parlance termed a pub
You can hop upon a Lucan tram and get there in a jiffy
Then join the Harriers - pay your sub
The squelchin', belchin' Harriers
Oh! Join and pay your sub

Or if happy you desire a bath - the Yellow House Rathfarnham
Has upon its kitchen floor a steaming tub
And no longer need a fellow go unwashed thro' term for darn him!
He can join the Harriers and pay his sub
The Harriers, the Harriers,
The ruddy, muddy Harriers
Yes, join the Harriers and pay his sub

There's a widow too, out Dundrum way, with face and farm most amply
And a nose of the variety called a snub
And if tea and cake or buttered crumpets you would sample
Just join the Harriers and pay yourt sub
The Harriers, the Harriers
The rambli', scramblin' Harriers
Just join the Harriers and pay your sub

If you're groggy in the thorax or you're weak in the abdomen
If you're having difficulties with your grub
Or if you merely wish to flee the encircling toils of women
Just join the Harriers and pay your sub
The Harriers, the Harriers
The sprawlin', crawlin' Harriers
Oh! Join the Harriers and pay your sub

The sub is only ten white bob - you say you'd never miss it
But where are you to get it - there's the rub?
Why not invest your overdraft and mortgage your deficit
And join the Harriers and pay your sub
The Harriers, the Harriers
The hurryin', scurryin' Harriers
Oh! Join the Harriers and pay your sub

-- From "TCD - A College Miscellany", December 1921

 

(This ballad was first printed in TCD Miscellany in 1921 at a time when the Harriers' membership was very depleted. Such was the success of poetic masterpiece that the chorus is still chanted regularly by ailing Treasurers of the modern era)

The Runner

The truest poetry lies
Just now
On a runner's rainy thighs

While at his head
White rings of breath
Break with his stride.

Winter trees, the windy cries
Of seabirds blown inland
Are witnesses

To every move he makes.
I wish him well
Whatever barriers he breaks.

He runs towards a freedom
Desired by every man
But always there, ahead of him,

Freedom runs on swifter feet.
He runs with the joy of losing
Yet plucks a sweet

Gift from the air.
When he stops
The gift's no longer there.

I think that in his mind
He runs forever
Out of the green field. Now he is blind

With joy, striding a mountain path,
A morning beach
Hard from sea's creative wrath,

A heavy suburb, a country road
Where rough welcome
Lives in his blood.

Yet even there, or anywhere,
He runs to lose.
On the winter air

Nothing can be seen
But fragile rings of white
Breaking on the green.

-- Brendan Kennelly, Professor of Modern Literature, TCD

 

The Fairies

Up the airy mountain
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting,
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather.
Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain-lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

High on the hill-top
The old King sits;
He is now so old and gray
He's nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys
From Slieveleague to Rosses;
Or going up with music,
On cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen,
Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget
For seven years long;
When she came down again
Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back
Between the night and morrow;
They thought she was fast asleep,
But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
Deep within the lake,
On a bed of flag leaves,
Watching till she wake.

By the craggy hill-side,
Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn trees
For pleasure here and there.
Is any man so daring
As dig them up in spite?
He shall find the thornies set
In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting,
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather.

-- William Allingham