The Big Bush of Cashel

No one knew from where it came                                                                                                        
Or noticed it when small                                                                                                                     
Till one day it peeped at passing folk                                                                                                       
From behind the roadside wall.

And that is how it all began                                                                                                               
The public life of a tree                                                                                                                   
When the Cashel bush emerged                                                                                                               
For all the world to see.

When local men went to the bog                                                                                                                 
It showed them new green leaves                                                                                                    
And never stopped its growing                                                                                                                         
Till they put the oats in sheaves.

It grew taller than a reek of turf                                                                                                                 
A cock of hay or a stack of corn                                                                                                                           
And spread its branches widely                                                                                                                            
Like a sunray in the morn.

It suffered many summer droughts                                                                                                                      
Gales made it twist and bend                                                                                                                               
It even lost some branches                                                                                                                                      
On the night of the big wind.

It stood there a lonely sentinel                                                                                                                                 
At the crossroads of time                                                                                                                                      
And saw many changes                                                                                                                               
As they came down the line.

The cruel years of famine                                                                                                                          
When hunger stalked the land                                                                                                                            
The winning of a tenant’s right                                                                                                                                 
From Michael Davitt’s stand.

It saw many silent funerals pass                                                                                                                                       
In rain and wind and sun                                                                                                                                   
Some big ones like McDonnell’s                                                                                                                            
For both the father and the son.

Men with horse and donkey cart                                                                                                                             
With jennet and with mule                                                                                                                                       
On sidecar and on pony trap                                                                                                                                     
But walking mostly as a rule.

Nights of crossroads dancing                                                                                                                                   
The sessions in Bligh’s hall                                                                                                                                    
Sure the big bush of Cashel                                                                                                                                    
Was there to see it all.

But its long life was ended                                                                                                                                      
In the year of forty three                                                                                                                                 
When the order it was given                                                                                                                                 
‘Cut down the Cashel tree’.

To feed a quarry engine                                                                                                                                        
Was the object of the crime                                                                                                                                     
The bush of Cashel sacrificed                                                                                                                             
To the progress of time.

So let us learn a lesson                                                                                                                                  
From the story of the tree                                                                                                                                    
And why the bush of Cashel                                                                                                                                    
Is not there for you to see.

Not all change is progressive                                                                                                                             
Not all big deeds are good                                                                                                                                        
Be slow to kill a living thing                                                                                                                                                               
Be it made from flesh or wood