By The Book


‘Stick to the books,’ his father said

‘It’s the only way forward,’

John did precisely that

Got his education

And home he came

From travels abroad

To be a leader for his nation


Books hold words

Convey ideas

Give us consolation

Inspire us in the way to go

Establish us in our station

We share the world with one another

Let the sunshine in

Brighten our horizons

Calm the disturbing din


So Jesus in his preaching

Broke the word for men

Men who had no books to read

No matter for the pen

Depending on what others said

Rumour local talk

What wonder to hear a speaker

His eloquence was sought


And I have books beside me now

To feed and feast my mind

To occupy the quiet hours

To help me to be kind

To hear the words that others speak

To listen to the story

To help to understand the world

To rescue it for glory


Brian Fahy

6 February 2022


+ John Hume’s father, in Derry, advised his son to avoid sectarian gatherings and to pursue his education. Out of that pathway a great statesman of Ireland blossomed.

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