The Web Poetry Corner
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It's from the Irish famine ships
As the waves beat upon wooden decks,
Our ancestors left old Ireland's shores
To start a new life on the streets of Glasgow.
It's from Brother Walfrid's charity
To feed poor Catholic families,
To create a Celtic identity
To rid the evil hand of poverty.
It's to the Brake Clubs of before
Who travelled many a long road,
Following the bhoys of green,
Believing in Glasgow's Irish team.
It's our culture and our faith
Our proud Irish heritage
That we sing of and rejoice
At Parkhead, supporting the bhoys.
It's our ancient Irish names
The love of a football game,
It was our father's right
To support the green & white.
It was from many a young lad
From Coatbridge to the Garngad,
To fulfill a longtime dream
And wear the hoops of green.
Of the heroes that we learn
For both Celtic and Ireland
As they both fought for the green
Against the British Imperialistic machine.
It's from the songs we learn and sing
To the Celtic cross and Claddagh ring
That we are Scottish born
To Ireland's exiled sons.
It's the love of our team
The bhoys in the hoops of green
For our faith, we proudly stand
And hold in our heart, the harp of Ireland.
From Sligo to Glasgow came Celtic
Celtic’s birth in the east end of Glasgow
Was conceived by a man, a native of Sligo,
From the west coast of Ireland, from the horrors of the famine,
A Marist priest came to Scotland and made it his home.
Home it became also to those who escaped the famine
As an exodus of Irish fled from their nation,
As the potato blight spread amongst Ireland’s rural population
The British Empire grew fat as the Irish died of starvation.
To the cities of Glasgow, Liverpool and London,
Work could be sought in the Industrial Revolution,
But prejudice and bigotry was their sectarian welcome
As life started hard when living in slums.
Work was found but very poorly paid,
Harassed by the workforce, day after day,
Ridiculed and provoked through their lack of education
Their religion resented by the ignorance of Britain.
Glasgow was no different from the ever-growing cities
As the Irish were badly treated, shown no pity,
Were children grew within the squalor and the poverty
Dressing in clothes that were rag-tag and dirty.
However, it was in the town of Glasgow that Brother Walfrid’s crusade
Was to feed the hungry, a child’s life to save,
As his fight for the poor became his vocation
To bring faith to the needy and to end the starvation.
The Catholic Church of Glasgow took it upon themselves
To provide for the Irish, rescue them from their hell,
And as the new headmaster of Sacred Heart school,
Brother Walfrid organized the Penny Dinner tables.
Then it wasn’t until the Scottish Cup Final of 1887
When Edinburgh Hibernian came to Hampden to face Dumbarton,
Were their success was celebrated by the Irish throughout the land
That Brother Walfrid would produce a team from Glasgow’s east end.
Surrounded by volunteers and Irish Catholic politicians
He founded the Celtic for charitable organizations,
With men like John Conway, John O’Hara and John Glass,
He also enlisted Pat Welsh, the legendary Fenian activist.
On November 6th, a Sunday afternoon in 1887
The name Glasgow Celtic came into formation,
As Janefield Street became the new home of football
To feed the children in the parishes of St.Mary’s, Scared Heart & St.Michael’s.
For six months Brother Walfrid and his band of volunteers
Built the first Celtic Park with blood, sweat and tears,
The Irish Catholics would embrace the Marist Priest’ dream
And find faith, hope and pride in Glasgow’s Irish team.
But in 1892, Brother Walfrid relocated to England
Were his love for education continued in London,
His team of Celtic flourished on the park
And brought pride and passion to his old Irish heart.
Sadly, in 1915, Brother Walfrid’s soul was laid to rest
And as sons of Irish immigrants our hearts have been blessed,
As we follow a team that was built from his dream
And we proudly wear the hoops of white & green.
The name of Celtic belongs to Glasgow’s east end
Were the spirit of football has always remained,
Brother Walfrid’s name lives in the history of our club
With the legends and heroes we have sang for and worshipped.
This poem was inspired by the article "The Hand of God".
40 Years Ago in Lisbon
It is the day of days,
that our fathers remember fondly,
When a team from Glasgow
challenged Inter Milan of Italy,
And for the fans who witnessed
that miraculous, historic night,
Saw history being made
by the Bhoys in green and white.
Jock Stein’s Celtic men
left Glasgow’s old east end
And travelled to the Azores,
to the city of Lisbon,
Were the Portuguese locals
took to the young Scots,
As their local team also sported
the blessed, green and white hoops.
On the feast of Corpus Christi,
the Celtic fans travelled by car, sea and air,
With their rent money
spent on the travelling fare,
And when they were greeted
by the warmth of the Lisbon sun,
They knew that the European Cup
was there to be won.
On the day of the match,
nerves were frantic and buzzing,
As Jock Stein’s men listened
to his fatherly instructions.
Then when Billy McNeill
led the players out for the game,
Songs of the Glasgow Celtic
echoed out from the Estoril End
Nerves were increased as Inter Milan
came out and went on the attack,
As they were awarded a very tame penalty
in the 7th minute of the first half.
But the Celts, they played with pride;
their heads never went down,
As they fought to win and secure,
Europe’s footballing crown.
When Tschescher blew his whistle
to end the first half,
Milan thought they could add to the goal
scored by Sandro Mazzola.
Thinking the second half would provide them
with no pressure or no danger,
The Nerazzurri had not yet been introduced to
Tommy Gemmell and Stevie Chalmers.
At the resume of the second half,
Inter Milan played deep and retreated
To their own 18 yard box
where Sarti could be defended.
Then raced Celtic’s Jim Craig,
overlapping down the right wing,
Who rolled the ball to Tommy Gemmell,
how Lisbon heard all the angels in heaven sing.
The roar of the travelling Celtic supporters
soared through the Lisbon air
As God and the Saints had answered
their novenas and their prayers.
With five minutes remaining,
and with the guidance of Brother Walfrid’s spirit,
Stevie Chalmers scored the winner
that brought victory for the Celtic.
The fans sang of victory,
while other wept and cried,
As Billy McNeill held the European cup,
high up to the sky
For those who remained in Glasgow,
they wore their green, white and gold
As children ran through the streets,
singing Celtic's name out loud
It is the day, May 25th,
that our fathers will never forget
As they reminisce when the European cup
was paraded around Parkhead
We were raised on the Jock Stein's Celtic,
were the story of Lisbon will never grow old,
When Celtic were crowned European Cup champions,
Forty years ago.