The Death of a Friend

Poem by Armagh resident Dan Campbell

This poem was written by Dan Campbell who spent much of his life as a shoemaker in Cushendall.  His house and workshop were in the Mill Yard off Mill Street.  The photo shows the ruins of the house at the foot of Tievebulliagh where he grew up. Those who knew him still remember his kindness and patience with children who frequented his workshop.

The poem is obviously very sad but ends on a note of hope and it makes us curious about the identity of the person who died.
 
The Death of a Friend
Wednesday, February 19, 1930

How strange to think you can be dead!
Who were so sprightly young and gay.
Alas! This hateful spectre death
No mortal aid can keep at bay.
 
I have known you a few short years
And for you tragic years were they,
You had to bear the scorn of those
Who were beneath you in every way.
 
How hard it is to die so young!
To face the terrors of the tomb
Who’s very thought, to each, and all
Casts over the mind an awful gloom.

To lie upon your bed and think
“Tomorrow will I be here
Or will my body, stark and stiff.
Provoke the useless tear”.

Will those who sought your favour,
Within the festal hall,
Now for one moment think of you
Rapt in your funeral pall!
 
The fairest form the earth has seen,
When dead and passed away,
Is soon forgotten by the crowd
Who rush their thoughtless way.

If I grieve at your untimely death
It is not with despair,
The perfect life’s beyond the grave
And I hope to see you there.

In that bright happy home of Heaven,
Where love and harmony reign,
A contrast to this world of ours
With it’s Passions, Pride and Pain.

(c) Glens of Antrim Historical Society. Reproduced with kind permission.