Damian Murphy, a native of St. Brigid’s Terrace, has sent us in a copy of one of his poems from his collection The Spice of Life: A Collection of Rhyming Verse. Do you remember the Loose Tooth Tree???
The Loose Tooth Tree
Memories of times long past
Memories that seem to last
One thing I remember, it was special to me
Is the hideout known as The Loose Tooth Tree.
It was in a hedge where many trees did grow
It looked nothing special if you didn’t know
But for me and my pals it was something just ours
where we could escape for hours and hours.
It was completely covered with dark green ivy
Though the roots were loose, making it quite shaky
But once inside you were impossible to see
Ideal for a hideout we named the Loose Tooth Tree.
Though you could see out cross the fields everywhere
If you were quiet no one knew you were there.
Keeping it secret was just half the fun
An oath of secrecy was sworn by everyone.
Bits and bobs from everywhere made it our own
A great place to be, with the gang or alone
Jokes and stories were told, there was great laughter
And yes we discussed girls, and the ones we were after.
We had blackjacks, fruitsalads and bullseyes too
Time bars and curly wurlys that took ages to chew
A place to relax where there was no sense of hurry
We were so young sure we didn’t have a worry
We used it for cowboys and indians, hide and seek
The rare risqué mag there did we peek
Indeed it is where I tried my first smoke
When my pals were convinced I was going to choke.
We ambushed the boys from Clongowes when they came to town
Yes us boys from the Terrace gained some renown
It was all good clean fun, just fisticuffs back then
And didn’t it help us all on our journey from boys to men
We were Smiths and Nevins, Murphys and Callans
Dorans and Behans, Delaneys and Ryans
All from St Brigids and so proud of the fact
“No outsiders allowed” was a part of the pact
We had bags of crisps that cost only two pence
Wore platform shoes so high they didn’t make sense
Flared collars so wide we were in danger of flight
We had hair so long it often interfered with sight.
We listened to the Osmonds, the Monkees and Status Quo
We loved Abba and Gary Glitter (how were we to know)
We loved the Waltons, Top Cat and the Flintstones, yabadabadoo
Little House on the Prairie, Shirley Temple, and the Little Rascals too
Yes The Loose Tooth Tree belonged to St. Brigid’s Terrace
But as more houses went up other kids proved a menace
Two bits of wood and a nail, we all had a sword to fight
and peg guns proved effective if the aim was right.
We decided to make up a language all of our own
What we were saying others had no way of knowing
Not parents nor priests, not teachers or anyone
And we had such mighty craic, it was so much fun.
It was an innocent time, we were all boys growing
Our lives were changing without us really knowing
In the Loose Tooth Tree we were all good friends together
Making memories that would stay with each of us forever
It was during the seventies in my home town of Clane
Upon leaving ‘twas two decades ‘til I saw it again
To my dismay the Loose Tooth Tree was no more
But it will live on in my memory for evermore.
© Damian Murphy 2013