Francis Ledwidge

(19 August 1887 – 31 July 1917 / Janeville, Slane)

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
How shall I know he did not pass
barefooted in the flowery grass?

The moon leans on one silver horn
Above the silhouettes of morn,
And from their nest-sills finches whistle
Or stooping pluck the downy thistle.
How is the morn so gay and fair
Without his whistling in its air?
The world is calling, I must go.
How shall I know he did not pass
Barefooted in the shining grass?

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • John McPartlan (6/11/2004 2:43:00 AM)

    The memory of Francis Ledwidge evokes among Irish people a great sadness. He died a young man in the Great War. The serenity and humility of this poem demonstrates clearly our sense of loss not only of a known wonderful person but of a poet who espoused peace and tranquility. The crushing of Ledwidge's life by the Great War is mirrored in the rejection by Irish society of simple, trusted and life-enhancing values, so poignantly depicted here by Ledwidge. The unamed whistling bare-footed boy can easily be seen as a metaphor for the death of simplicity. (Report) Reply

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