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Padraic Colum

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

A Saint


THE stir of children with fresh dresses on,
And men who meet and say unguarded words,
And women from the coops
Of drudgeries released;

And standing at their doors to watch go by
Small pomps with pennons and with first spring-flowers,
And, lifted over them,
Your name that sanctifies.

But you, when you came here, it was to front
Hard-handed men, and trouble them for dues
To stay the fatherless
Portion of what they ploughed.

To claim resource from them whose own resource
Was pittance this you came here to do,
And give for what you gained
Your season of bright youth:

The hunt upon the mountain-side, the dance
Down in the vale; the whisper at the door;
Kiss on unstaying lips
That afterwards would stay;

Music you could have made would make our land
Of noble note and join our different breeds,
And make your name endeared
On roadside and in hall.

All this was changed, as when the warm stream
Setting through ocean toward vine-bearing isles,
Turns its flow toward capes
Where heather only thrives.

That day that was of battles and hard pledges
Has all been changed into this whitened morn-
Music and holiday,
And benediction bells.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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