The returned missionaries.
Let me speak of the few
Though once we thought they were many
Who forsook wife and family
To serve in a faraway territory.
Decades later to return
Health often ravaged and unwell
To an Ireland they can scarcely recall
Which in turn forgets their hell.
Forgets the boyish faces
In photos of black and white
The broad smiles of the sixties
A time of trust and hope.
Yes of course, there were bad 'uns'
As in every walk of life,
But these poor privates didn't make the rules;
They just served in self sacrifice.
Oh Ireland how fast you forgot them,
Honored by thousands abroad
Oh Ireland how slow to remember
How they often shared your load.
Bread eaten is quickly forgotten
By men with a message to pen
That sell papers and books
Forgetting or choosing to hide
That most coins have another side.