"Macushla" - Michael Collins and Kitty Kiernan

I should have known it Kitty
From the moment we first met;
True feelings went unheeded
Since my mind was firmly set
On Ireland’s fight for freedom,
For which many fine men had died;
And you were stepping out with Harry,
Best friend, ever at my side.

So I watched you dance the night away
While a tenor sang “Macushla”

It struck me that I loved you
When I was forced to save our cause
By sending boys out to murder at night
In that bloodiest of dirty wars.
It was your face I set before my eyes
In place of the men I had killed;
Your sparkling wit and vivacious charm
With which my mind I filled.

And I dreamed we danced the night away
While a tenor sang “Macushla”

Though we three were often together,
You and Harry were expected to wed;
I found a soulmate, but lost a friend
When you said you loved me instead.
You took my mind off the troubles,
Our days in the country were grand;
Playing tennis and reading poetry
And walking hand in hand.

And then we danced the night away
While a tenor sang “Macushla”

The task of discussing terms for peace
To me was a loathsome one;
Only your letters sustained me
Until Ireland’s freedom was won.
I knew when I signed the treaty,
Though no-one could have done more,
That many would rebel against it,
Plunge us all into civil war.

I wished we were dancing the night away
While a tenor sang “Macushla”

When travelling along that West Cork road
And a rifle shot brought me down;
My spirit flew straight to your heart
As you tried on your wedding gown.
A shiver went down your spine;
A spinning inside your head;
You instantly knew a nightmare come true;
That I, your man, Mick, was dead;

That we wouldn’t be dancing the night away
While a tenor sang “Macushla”

For many long years I have waited,
While you lived out the rest of your life.
You never stopped reading our letters
Even though you were another man’s wife.
Now your passing has brought us together
For the rest of eternity.
Our spirits united as one;
My dearest, darling Kitty.

Now we’ll dance every night away
While a tenor sings “Macushla”.

Tony Crehan 2011

"Macushla" - Michael Collins and Kitty Kiernan

TonyCrehan

Hobart, Australia

Artist's Description

Featured in C.O.R.E. http://www.redbubble.com/groups/core-c-o-r-e Group on 11/13/11
With my Irish ancestry and love of history, since I was a boy I have been fascinated by Michael Collins, the man, his life and death and his legacy to Ireland.
I loved the 1996 Neil Jordan film “Michael Collins” starring Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts. This made me more aware of the love triangle between Kitty Kiernan, Michael and his best friend Harry Boland.
A memorable scene is of Michael and Kitty slow dancing to the haunting melody and lyrics of “Macushla” (copyrighted circa 1910 with music by Dermot MacMurrough and lyrics by Josephine V. Rowe), famously sung by tenor John McCormack.

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