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Image by Karim Ben Van


the madrigal, volume iv


by henry hudson

She married Johnny Tansey
The week that he enlisted
Her father had his doubts
And quietly insisted
That the Irish had no grievance
With any German or a Turk
And surely to God young Johnny
Could find a safer line of work?
But chance denies all reason
It fools both knight and knave
And how she cheered those fusiliers
As they marched out on parade
For Johnny would soon be home again
In the arms of his loving wife
With a job through the British Legion
That would set them up for life

But their dreams died on a battlefield
A manic, barbed-wire hell
When Johnny Tansey’s shallow trench
Was hit by a German shell
There was nothing left to bury
So they carved on Portland stone
John J Tansey, Fusilier
He is known to God alone

Christina Tansey donned the black
From the moment word came through
A blushing bride at twenty-one
A widow at twenty-two
And in the fifty years that followed
No suitor stood a chance
Against Johnny Tansey’s farewell kiss
On the day he sailed for France

For she walked each night in fitful dreams
Through fields of poppy red
Calling softly for the one
Who had warmed her bridal bed
For he would ever be her Johnny Boy
Not a name on Portland stone
And hers a never-ending love
That is known to God alone

Henry Hudson was born in Dublin. A graduate of the Samuel Beckett Centre in TCD he is a former
winner of the RTE PJ O’Connor Radio Drama Award, The Heinrich Boll Award for Literature, The
Listowel Writers Week Playwrights Award and The Best Play Award at the Cork Arts Festival. His
novel Beyond Pulditch Gates was published in 2001 and a French translation Derriere Les Grilles de
Pulditch in 2007. An E version of the novel is available on Amazon Kindle under the title Pulditch.
His second novel, Poor Lamb, Poor Lamb is also available on Amazon Kindle. 

He has written numerous stage and radio plays and his short story Playing for Time was published in
The Evergreen Review (New York) while his story Bloomsday and his poem By a statue in Fluntern
Cemetery were published in the Stinging Fly magazine. He is currently working on a book for
children based on ancient Irish legends.

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