Francis Edward Ledwidge was an Irish war poet from County Meath. Sometimes known as the "poet of the blackbirds", he was killed in action at the Battle of Passchendaele during World War I.
Ledwidge was born at Janeville, Slane, in Ireland, the eighth of nine children in a poverty-stricken family. His parents, Patrick Ledwidge (the Ledwidge family, from Shropshire, was granted land in Meath after the Norman invasion) and wife Anne Lynch (1853–1926), believed in giving their children the best education they could afford. But when Francis was only five his father Patrick died prematurely, which forced his wife and the children out to work at an early ... more »
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Francis Ledwidge Poems
Maiden-poet, come with me To the heaped up cairn of Maeve, And there we'll dance a fairy dance Upon a fairy's grave.
When I was young I had a care Lest I should cheat me of my share Of that which makes it sweet to strive For life, and dying still survive,
Behind the Closed Eye
I walk the old frequented ways That wind around the tangled braes, I live again the sunny days Ere I the city knew.
A Rainy Day in April
When the clouds shake their hyssops, and the rain Like holy water falls upon the plain, 'Tis sweet to gaze upon the springing grain And see your harvest born.
A Little Boy in the Morning
He will not come, and still I wait. He whistles at another gate Where angels listen. Ah I know He will not come, yet if I go
God made my mother on an April day, From sorrow and the mist along the sea, Lost birds' and wanderers' songs and ocean spray, And the moon loved her wandering jealously.
Lament for the Poets: 1916
I heard the Poor Old Woman say: "At break of day the fowler came, And took my blackbirds from their songs Who loved me well thro' shame and blame
Lament for Thomas McDonagh
He shall not hear the bittern cry In the wild sky, where he is lain, Nor voices of the sweeter birds, Above the wailing of the rain.
To One Dead
A blackbird singing On a moss-upholstered stone, Bluebells swinging, Shadows wildly blown,
A Soldier's Grave
Then in the lull of midnight, gentle arms Lifted him slowly down the slopes of death Lest he should hear again the mad alarms
Spring and Autumn
Green ripples singing down the corn, With blossoms dumb the path I tread, And in the music of the morn One with wild roses on her head.
A Mother's Song
Little ships of whitest pearl With sailors who were ancient kings, Come over the sea when my little girl Sings.
The Shadow People
Old lame Bridget doesn't hear Fairy music in the grass When the gloaming's on the mere And the shadow people pass:
The Wife of Llew
And Gwydion said to Math, when it was Spring: "Come now and let us make a wife for Llew." And so they broke broad boughs yet moist with dew, And in a shadow made a magic ring:
Comments about Francis Ledwidge
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
Maiden-poet, come with me
To the heaped up cairn of Maeve,
And there we'll dance a fairy dance
Upon a fairy's grave.
In and out among the trees,
Filling all the night with sound,
The morning, strung upon her star,
Shall chase us round and round.
What are we but fairies too,
Living but in dreams alone,
Or, at the most, but children still,
Innocent and overgrown ?