Fling Care to the Devil …

January 29 means just one thing to me and that’s Mother’s birthday. She was born in 1921 and had a grand total of eighty eight birthdays.

She grew up on a farm in Co. Meath and adored nature more than anyone I’ve ever met. I’ve been thinking about her a lot today and was thrilled to see that the first daffodil in my garden bloomed forth over night to join the snowdrops which were always such a symbol of her birthday.

I loved hearing stories about her youth and especially how she and her big brother spent endless hours out riding their ponies. They were inseparable and shared all sorts of passions, including poetry. She used to tell me of how when they were supposed to be going to sleep, they would be whispering the lines of poems to each other through their open bedroom doors. This is one of the verses that she would burst into from those days:

When sorrows come sobbing

To clutch at the breast,

When trouble comes robbing

The heart at its rest,

When cash columns addle

The brain as they may:

Swing into the saddle,

To horse and away!

To horse and away

To the heart of the fray!

Fling care to the Devil for one merry day!

( From Galloping Shoes: Verses by Will. H. Ogilvie, 1922)

It wasn’t until after she died that I found this photograph from her childhood. It was tiny and the fact that it was a picture of Mother and her brother on horseback with their parents in the frame only revealed itself when I managed to enlarge it.  I’d say Mother was about seven or eight when it was taken.

Happy Day in the 1920s!
Happy Day in the 1920s!

It’s a photograph that makes me smile and hope that if by some chance there is a heaven that Mother has been able to spend today running in the woods among the snowdrops and riding her beloved Jock with her big brother as they recite every line of poetry they ever knew.


Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

29 thoughts on “Fling Care to the Devil …”

    1. Hi Lennon, many thanks for your kindness. Yes I miss her but, at the same time I’m glad that she isn’t still here with no quality of life. Her presence is always with me. I was so fortunate to have such a loving, caring, inspirational mother for as long as I did. xx

  1. Oah! The missing never stops, but our memories bring a little comfort and closeness. Enlarged your dear Mum’s face on my iPad, she looks as if she is ‘fully mindful’ in the moment. Our photos are so precious….and all the pictures in our mind.

    1. Hello Bern, thanks very much for writing.
      I agree about the missing but I give thanks that she is at peace and that I have such a treasurev trove of memories to draw on.

  2. Thank you for sharing Jean, wonderful photo and the poem too. Also very special is Ogilvie’s connection with the Australian outback and his love of dogs and horses. I was thinking about my Mum today as I made our morning cuppa. My routine would be to ring Mum on a Sat morning after we had morning tea. As the years pass, the hurt passess too and this allows the good memories to come to mind:) Well for me anyway…

    1. Hi Olga, that’s fascinating about Ogilvie. I noticed Sydney alright as one of the places of publication. I must read up more about his life and times. The book is a delight that’s been in my life always.

  3. What a lovely post, Jean. You could have been speaking about my own dearly missed Mum who was born on the 21st January 1922! She too loved poetry, horses and nature although I lost her in 1980 and will miss her every day, forever. I would give anything to hear more of her stories…

  4. Wonderful! And more synchronicity: today I’ve been scanning a little photo album that was my great aunt’s, and there were several pictures of my mother as a child. I’m about half way through now, and eager to finish and show them to my nieces. Lovely to read the comments and see how much we all love our mothers.

  5. This post is perfect for your mother’s birthday. The picture is lovely. Your mother and her brother must have had so much fun with the ponies.

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