Our Fathers, Who Art on Earth

Since Sunday is Father’s Day, I dedicate this post to all fathers.

Fathers-DayWhat follows are not my words, but rather the words of a song written by the Irish musician and songwriter, Phil Coulter. The song is entitled The Old Man and in the best Irish tradition, the song tells a vivid story of ordinary life. Also, in that same Irish tradition, it is a sad song, a song of parting. In the song, a son tells of his father’s death and of his own reflection on the life that he had with his father, of all the things they did together, and of how he is really going to miss his father – the old man. I know that I am a sentimental, slobbering basket case when it comes to things like this, but I think these words are words that just about everyone can relate to. You can either read the song simply as a poem or you can listen to it being sung. There are several renditions of the song available on YouTube, including versions by Phil Coulter himself, by Finbar Furey, and by my own personal favorite, John McDermott, below. (click on the arrow to hear the song)

sláinte mhaith

SPOILER ALERT: Whether you read the song or listen to it, have the box of Kleenex close by. If you are like me, you will need them.

The Old Man (Phil Coulter)

The tears have all been shed now

We’ve said our last good-bye

His soul’s been blessed and he’s laid to rest

And it’s now I feel alone.

He was more than just a father

A teacher my best friend

He can still be heard in the tunes we shared

When we play them on our own.

 [Chorus:] I never will forget him for he made me what I am

Though he may be gone memory lingers on

And I miss him… The old man

As a boy he’d take me walking

By mountain field and stream

And he showed me things not known to kings

And secret between him and me.

Like the colors of the pheasant

As he rises in the dawn

And how to fish and make a wish

Beside the holly tree

[Chorus:] I never will forget him for he made me what I am

Though he may be gone memory lingers on

And I miss him… The Old Man

I thought he’d live forever

He seemed so big and strong

But the minutes fly and the years roll by

For a father and his son

And suddenly when it happened

There was so much left unsaid

No second chance to tell him thanks

For everything he’s done.

[Chorus:] I never will forget him for he made me what I am

Though he may be gone memory lingers on

And I miss him… MY Old Man

 

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