Poetry

Poem - For the Fallen

 

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Poem - In Flanders Fields

 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
  That mark our place; and in the sky
  The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
  Loved and were loved, and now we lie
      In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
  The torch; be yours to hold it high.
  If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
      In Flanders fields.

 

Quote - "So hope for a great sea-change On the far side of revenge"

Seamus Heaney On Suffering, Self-healing, and Hope for a Great Sea Change

 

 

To mark Joe Biden's President-elect status, RTE put together a piece on his shistory and voiced by him reading an excerpt from the Seamus Heaney poem “The Cure at Troy” written in 1991 - his version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes written in the fifth century BC. 

As though Heaney wrote it for this exact time as we navigate a mighty sea-change.

Human beings suffer,
They torture one another,
They get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
Can fully right a wrong
Inflicted and endured.

History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a farther shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.

Poem - Days of Kindness

Days of Kindness

(Stranger Music, 1993)

Poem - Ech day me comëth tydinges thre

 

Ech day me comëth tydinges thre,
For wel swithë sore ben he:
The on is that Ich shal hennë,
That other that Ich not whennë,
The thriddë is my mestë carë,
That Ich not whider Ich shal farë.

Poem - Somer is y-comen in

 

Sing cuckóu, nou! Sing cuckóu!

Sing cuckóu! Sing cuckóu nou!

Somer is y-comen in,

Loudë sing, cuckóu!

Growëth sed and blowëth med

And springth the wodë nou

Sing cuckóu!

Ewë bletëth after lamb,

Lowth after cálve cóu;

Bullok stertëth, bukkë vertëth,

Merye sing, cuckóu!

Cuckóu, cuckóu,

Wél singést thou, cuckóu,

Ne swik thou never nou!

Poem - Miri it is while sumer i-last With foulës song

 

Miri it is while sumer i-last

With foulës song;

Oc now neghëth windës blast

And weder strong.

Ei, ei, what this night is long,

And Ich with wel michel wrong

Sorwe and murne and fast.

Poem - Foulës in the frith, The fishës in the flod

 

Foulës in the frith,

The fishës in the flod,

And I mon waxë wod;

Much sorwe I walkë with

For beste of bon and blod.

Poem - Westron wynde, when wylt thow blow The smalle rayne downe can rayne?

Old poem - mediaeval or even older.

'Westron wynde, when wilt thou blow,
The small raine down can raine.
Cryst, if my love were in my armes
And I in my bedde again!'

 

Westron wynde, when wylt thow blow
The smalle rayne downe can rayne?
Cryst yf my love were in my armys
And I yn my bed agayne!

Quoted in The Lie of the Land

Poem - The Last Time

Through hazy years and memories faded, I see a glimmer of your smile,
how I wish I'd changed my plans and stayed with you a while,

will you be ok I asked, as we parted ways that day,
you told me not to worry, that all would be ok

I wish I'd held you longer, I wish there'd been a sign,
I wish I'd known as we said goodbye that this was the last time

last time I'd hear your voice, last time our eyes would meet,
the last time I'd feel whole again, the last time I'd be free

Free to laugh without constraint, that lightness now diminished,
the joy in every moment curbed, the day your story finished

Free from the torment of things unsaid, of leaving you behind,
of every way I hurt you, of wasting so much time

Time I took for granted, time I thought we had,
time to do all the crazy things that we'd always planned

 


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