Friday, November 6, 2009

Michael Hargadon, Sligo Poet

One of the pleasures of the internet is the ease with which you can obtain second-hand copies of long out of print books. I enjoy reading novels, short stories and books of poetry especially those from Sligo published in the past. Someone once said to me "You can enjoy reading bad books too" and she was right.

I often search sites such as ABEBooks for old books of poetry by long dead Sligo authors. Recently I got a copy of A Lovely Home by Sligo-born Michael A Hargadon (1888-1968) published by Maunsel and Company in 1915. My copy was Withdrawn from Stock at Keele University Library Staffordshire.

Very much of the time, deservedly forgotten but still an enjoyable read. We don't write like this any more. Come to think of it some actually do!
Among the poems about his childhood, schooling, friends is this poem on Yeats:

William Butler Yeats

A Son of Sligo now careers sublime,
The truest, sweetest poet of our time,
Whose fame in every cultured nation rings,
In cots of peasants, palaces of kings,
Whose mystic calls allure us to explore
Enchanting fields we never saw before.
Immortal Yeats! long may thy course aspire;
Long may they adept fingers tune the lyre;
Long may the lustre of they mind aspire,
The brightest flame cast from the muse's fire.

You can download and read the whole book A Lovely Home here. It's not the same as having the book in your hands!

Hargadon is an interesting character. He was born in Calry near Sligo town. He became a journalist and in 1915 emigrated to Canada where he continued as a journalist with the Montreal Daily Star. Later he became publicity officer with the Canadian Pacific Railways.

Towards the end of 1915 a campaign was launched in Canada to aid the families of soldiers who had gone to fight in World War 1. The newly arrived Hargadon wrote a poem asking for the help of the public for this cause which was published in Montreal papers and later all over Canada.
A fund of a few million dollars was subscribed and Hargadon became well know all over the country. Part of the poem below;

(A Poem for the Patriotic Fund)

Your wives flit around about your homes,
And give you of their care;
Some of the boys who went left wives
As kind and just as fair;
Your wives have all the joys they need,
Their dresses warm and neat --
How could you see a soldier's wife
Ill clad upon the street?

. . .

The boys who went left these ones too
Appealing to your store;
You will not miss all that is asked,
So give a little more.
Thus giving and thus helping
You will be aiding on
The struggle that will have no end
Till victory has shone;
Each bill you give is a shell
Shot at the Kaiser's heart
Shoot, shoot and shoot until that hell
Is shot and rent apart.

Oh! drop those dollar bombs until
Our fiendish German foes
Are beaten back to the abyss
From which at first they rose
Give, give your brave assistance
Until the earth is free --
Upon the struggle rests the fate
Of you as well as me.

Hargadon continued to write poetry and published Irish and Canadian Poems in 1921 and Among the Mountains 1925. The latter was illustrated with paintings of Canadian mountain scenes.

Information on the poet comes from Worthies of Sligo by John C McTernan the former Sligo County Librarian who built up the local archives section of Sligo Co Library and has published a number of books on Sligo.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks you for posting this information regarding my grandfather Michael Hargadon. He passed away when I was two years old, but I have enjoyed learning about him over the years and the information you have provided, including posts of his poems, is much appreciated. Robin Hargadon