BIDDY – To the Coming Flowers

Awake, dear sleepers, from your wintry tombs;

The sun has turned the point of Capricorn,

And ‘gins to pluck from Winter’s wings the plumes

Of darkness, and to wind his silver horn

For your return. Come to your homes, forlorn

In absence of your odours and your faces;

Like Rachel weeps for you the reaved morn,

As often as she views your empty places,

Erewhile the daily scene of her and your embraces.

Come, pensile snowdrop, like the earliest star

That twinkles on the brow of dusky Night;

Come, like the child that peeps from door ajar,

With pallid cheek, upon a wasteful sight:

And shouldst thou rise when all around is white,

The more thou’lt demonstrate the power of God

To shield the weak against the arms of might,

To strengthen feeble shoulders for their load,

And sinking hearts ‘mid ills they could not full forebode.

Come, crocus cup, the cup where early bees

Sip the first nectar of the liberal year,

Come and illume our green, as similes

Light up the poet’s song. And O ye dear

March violets, come near, come breathing near!

You too, fair primroses, in darksome woods

Shine forth, like heaven’s constellations clear;

And come, ye daisies, throng in multitudes,

And whiten hills and meadows with your saintly hoods.

Come with thy lilies, May; thy roses, June;

Come with your richer hues, Autumnal hours;

O tell your mellowing sun, your regal moon,

Your dewy drops, your soft refreshing showers,

To lift their blessing hands in Flora’s bowers,

Nor e’en to scorn the bindweed’s flossy gold,

Nor foxglove’s banner hung with purple flowers,

Nor solitary heath that cheers the wold,

Nor the last daisy shivering in November’s cold!

Unknown early 20th Century Irish Poet

Sisters

There are occasions when you come across some lovely pieces of poetry when you study folklore and customs. The following is a poem I picked up a few weeks ago and thought it was so nice that I should share it with you. As for the author, all I know is that it is by a 19th Century Poet/Poetess. Please enjoy…

The day had gone as fades a dream;

The night had come, and rain fell fast;

While o’er the black and sluggish stream

Cold blew the wailing blast.

In pensive mood I idly raised

The curtain from the rain-splashed glass,

And as into the street I gazed,

I saw two women pass.

One shivering with the bitter cold,

Her garments heavy with the rain,

Limped by with features wan and old,

Deep farrowed by sharp pain.

A child in form, a child in years;

But from her piteous pallid face,

The weariness of life with tears

Had washed all childlike grace.

And as she passed me faint and weak,

I heard her slowly say, as though

With throbbing heart about to break:

‘”Move on!” Where shall I go?’

The other, who on furs reclined,

In brougham was driven to the play;

No thought within her vacant mind

Of those in rags that day:

With unmoved heart and idle stare,

Passed by the beggar in the street,

Who lifted up her hands in prayer,

Some charity to meet.

Both vanished in the murky night:

The outcast on a step to die;

The lady to a scene of light,

Where Joy alone did sigh.

But angels saw amid her hair

What was by human eyes unseen;

The grass that grows on graves was there,

With leaves of ghastly green.

And though her diamonds flashed the light

Upon the flatterers gathered near,

The outcast’s brow had gem more bright –

An angel’s pitying tear.

An Unknown 19th Century Irish Poet

You Can Guess

THERE are grottos in Wicklow, and groves in

Kildare,

And the loveliest glens robed with shamrock in

Clare,

And in fairy Killarney ’tis easy to find

Sweet retreats where a swain can unburden his

mind;

But of all the dear spots in our emerald isle,

Where verdure and sunshine crown life with a

smile,

There’s one boreen I love, for ’twas there I

confess

I first met my fate, — what it was you can guess.

It was under the shade of its bordering trees,

One day I grew suddenly weak at the knees

At the thought of what seemed quite a terrible

task,

And yet it was but a short question to ask.

’Twas over, and since, night and morning, I

bless

The boreen that heard the soft whisper of “yes.”

And the breezes that toyed with each clustering tress;

And the question was this— but I’m sure you

can guess.

Arthur M. Forrester

AN IRISH SCHOOLHOUSE.

By Arthur M. Forrester. (1889)

An Old Irish Schoolhouse

Upon the rugged ladder rungs— whose

pinnacle is Fame—

How often have ambitious pens deep graven

Harvard’s name; The gates of glory Cambridge men o’er

all the world assail,

And rulers in the realm of thought look back

with pride to Yale.

To no such Alma Mater can my Muse in

triumph raise

Its Irish voice in canticles of gratitude and

praise;

Yet still I hold in shrine of gold, and until death

I will,

The little schoolhouse, thatched with straw,

that lay behind the hill.

When in the balmy morning, racing down the

green boreen

Toward its portal, ivy-framed, our curly heads

were seen,

We felt no shame for ragged coats, nor blushed

for shoeless feet,

But bubbled o’er with laughter dear old

master’s smile to meet;

Yet saw beneath his homespun garb an awe-

inspiring store

Of learning’s fearful mysteries and academic

lore.

No monarch wielded sceptre half so potent as

his quill

In that old schoolhouse, thatched with straw,

that lay behind the hill.

Perhaps— and yet ’tis hard to think— our

boastful modern school

Might feel contempt for master, for his

methods and his rule;

Would scorn his simple ways— and in the rapid

march of mind

His patient face and thin gray locks would lag

far, far behind.

No matter; he was all to us, our guide and

mentor then;

He taught us how to face life’s fight with all the

grit of men;

To honor truth, and love the right, and in the

future fill

Our places in the world as he had done behind

the hill.

He taught us, too, of Ireland’s past; her glories

and her wrongs—

Our lessons being varied with the most

seditious songs:

We were quite a nest of rebels, and with boyish

fervor flung

Our hearts into the chorus of rebellion when

we sung.

In truth, this was the lesson, above all, we

conned so well

That some pursued the study in the English

prison cell,

And others had to cross the seas in curious

haste, but still

All living love to-day, as then, the school

behind the hill.

The wind blows through the thatchless roof in

stormy gusts to-day;

Around its walls young foxes now, in place of

children, play;

The hush of desolation broods o’er all the

country-side;

The pupils and their kith and kin are scattered

far and wide.

But wheresoe’er one scholar on the face of earth

may roam,

When in a gush of tears comes back the

memory of home,

He finds the brightest picture limned by

Fancy’s magic skill,

The little schoolhouse, thatched with straw,

that lay behind the hill.