With cheeks that paled the rosy morn
She bounded o’er the heather,
And romped with us among the corn
When we were kids together.
Her mother’s help, her mother’s mate.
Her mother’s darling daughter,
When riper mind and more sedate
The rapid years had brought her.
As pure as air from mountain snows,
As dainty as a fairy,
As fetching as the native rose,
And always — Laughing Mary.
A little mother round about,
The happy sunshine bringing —
You’d see her bustle in and out,
A-working and a-singing;
And then the soul of Casey’s place,
The love, the light, the laughter.
When friendship showed its cheery face,
And music shook the rafter;
And many a lad went home to find
A haunting sweet vagary
Was rambling softly through his mind
Because of Laughing Mary.
But when the smiling stars were blurred,
And someone’s heart was bleeding,
She flew as flies the homing bird,
With balms of comfort speeding.
An angel in a sweet disguise,
She filled the measure over,
While tears stood sparkling in her eyes
Like rain-drops on the clover;
And many a head bowed low to pray,
Howe’er her skies might vary,
The years would bless her on her way
And keep her Laughing Mary.
John O’Brien. Around the Boree Log and Other Verses, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1921