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(8 December 1881 – 11 January 1972 / County Longford)

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A Connachtman

IT'S my fear that my wake won't be quiet,
Nor my wake house a silent place :
For who would keep back the hundreds
Who would touch my breast and my face?

For the good men were always my friends,
From Galway back into Clare;
In strength, in sport, and in spending,
I was foremost at the fair;

In music, in song, and in friendship,
In contests by night and by day,
By all who knew it was given to me
That I bore the branch away.

Now let Manus Joyce, my friend
(If he be at all in the place),
Make smooth the boards of the coffin
They will put above my face.

The old men will have their stories
Of all the deeds in my days,
And the young men will stand by the coffin,
And be sure and clear in my praise.

But the girls will stay near the door,
And they'll have but little to say:
They'll bend their heads, the young girls,
And for a while they will pray.

And, going home in the dawning,
They'll be quiet with the boys;
The girls will walk together,
And seldom they'll lift the voice;

And then, between daybreak and dark,
And between the hill and the sea,
Three women, come down from the mountain,
Will raise the keen over me.

But 'tis my grief that I will not hear
When the cuckoo cries in Glenart,
That the wind that lifts when the sails are loosed,
Will never lift my heart.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010


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