Alice Guerin Crist

(6 February 1876 - 13 June 1941 / Clare Castle)

A Young Rebel Poem by Alice Guerin Crist


The sun is setting behind the range,
his golden rays pour down
On a little figure, childish, strange,
Bending over a volume worn,
Whose green-clad cover, dusty and torn,
Bears a 'harp without a crown'.

The young eyes turn to the distant west,
Where the sunset colours glow,
And thoughts are thrilling the childish breast
Of gallant, valorous deeds long done,
Of glorious battles, fought and won
In the days of long ago.

His fancy peoples the lonely glen
With the ghosts of the vanished past,
Till he hears the tramp of armed men,
And O'Niall's plumed horsemen ridge
While the 'Red Hand' flutters in all its pride
Above them on the blast.

And just where the road winds into the creek
Where the jasmine stars the shade,
With the soft wind kissing her blushful cheek,
Beautiful grey-eyed Dierdrie stands
Stretching to Naisi her snowy hands--
Half -welcoming, half- dismayed.

The purple hues of the gully change
With the deepening shades of night,
And, far in a nook of the distant range
Is Michael Dwyer, of the Wicklow glen,
Holding his desperate stand again,
'Gainst the redcoat soldier's might.

The west wind rises across the creek,
And with it the crash of steel
Carries a flush to the listener's cheek—
'Tis only the crash of branches dry,
But in it he hears the battle-cry,
And the patriot's words of zeal.

And martyred shades come thronging around,
To the roll-call of Liberty;
Louder their eager voices sound,
Till towering tree-tops and glowing sky,
Are echoing back the defiant cry----
'Michael answer for me!'

The moon is rising above the creek,
The shining stars look down
On a little dreamer, whose pillowed cheek
Rests, in a volume worn,
Whose green-clad cover, dusty and torn,
Bears ' Harp without a Crown'.

Submitted: Monday, April 05, 2010

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