My love, still I think that I see her once more,
But, alas! she has left me her loss to deplore -
My own little Kathleen, my poor little Kathleen,
My Kathleen O'More!
Her hair glossy black, her eyes were dark blue,
Her colour still changing, her smiles ever new -
So pretty was Kathleen, my sweet little Kathleen,
My Kathleen O'More!
She milked the dun cow, that ne'er offered to stir;
Though wicked to all, it was gentle to her -
So kind was my Kathleen, my poor little Kathleen,
My Kathleen O'More!
She sat at the door one cold afternoon,
To hear the wind blow, and to gaze on the moon, -
So pensive was Kathleen, my poor little Kathleen,
My Kathleen O'More!
Cold was the night-breeze that sighed round her bower,
It chilled my poor Kathleen, she drooped from that hour,
And I lost my poor Kathleen, my own little Kathleen,
My Kathleen O'More!
The bird of all birds that I love the best
Is the robin that in the churchyard builds his nest;
For he seems to watch Kathleen, hops lightly o'er Kathleen,
My Kathleen O'More!
("Kathleen O'More, by George Nugget Reynolds, printed in Poems of the Irish People, 2016)
I’d like to think that Kathleen and Rory (from this poem) eventually got married, resulting in this lovely yet sad poem. Poor Rory, losing his sweet Kathleen.
Young Rory O'More courted Kathleen bán,
He was bold as a hawk, - and she soft as the dawn;
He wished in his heart pretty Kathleen to please,
And he thought the best way to do that was to tease;
"Now Rory, be aisy," sweet Kathleen would cry -
Reproof on her lip, but a smile in her eye;
"With your tricks, I don't know, in troth, what I'm about;
Faith, you've teased me till I've put on my cloak inside out";
"Och, jewel," says Rory "that same is the way
You've thrated my heart for this many a day,
And 'til plased that I am, and why not, to be sure?
For 'tis all for good luck," says bold Rory O'More.
"Indeed, then," says Kathleen, "don't think of the like,
For I half gave a promise to soothering Mike;
The ground that I walk on he loves, I'll be bound."
"Faith," says Rory, "I'd rather love you than the ground."
"Now, Rory, I'll cry, if you don't let me go;
Sure I dhrame every night that I'm hating you so."
"Och," says Rory, "that same I'm delighted to hear,
For dhrames always go by contraries, my dear;
So, jewel, keep dhramin' that same till you die,
And bright mornin' will give dirty night the black lie;
And 'til plased that I am, and why not to be sure?
Since 'tis all for good luck," says bold Rory O'More.
"Arrah, Kathleen, my darlint, you've teased me enough,
And I've thrashed for your sake Danny Grimes and James Duff,
And I've made myself, drinkin' your health, quite a baste,
So I think, after that, I may talk to the priest."
Then Rory, the rogue, stole his arm round her neck,
So soft and so white, without freckle or speck,
And he looked in her eyes that were beaming with light.
And he kissed her sweet lips - don't you think he was right?
"Now, Rory, leave off, sir; you'll hug me no more;
That's eight times to-day that you've kissed me before."
"Then here goes another," says he, "to make sure,
For there's luck in odd numbers," says Rory O'More.
("Rory O'More", by Samuel Lover, printed in Poems of the Irish People, 2016)
It’s cute to imagine this scene, Rory and Kathleen teasing back and forth. My favorite line is when Rory tells Kathleen, “I’d rather love you than the ground.”
To Rathlin's Isle I chanced to sail
When summer breezes softly blew,
And there I heard so sweet a tale
That oft I wished it could be true.
They said, at eve, when rude winds sleep,
And hushed is ev'ry turbid swell,
A mermaid rises from the deep
And sweetly tunes her magic shell.
And while she plays, rock, dell, and cave,
In dying falls the sound retain,
As if some choral spirits gave
Their aid to swell her witching strain.
Then summoned by that dulcet note,
Uprising to th' admiring view,
A fairy island seems to float
With tints of many a gorgeous hue.
And glittering fanes, and lofty towers,
All on this fairy isle are seen:
And waving trees, and shady bowers,
With more than mortal verdure green.
And as it moves, the western sky
Glows with a thousand varying rays;
And the calm sea, tinged with each dye,
Seems like a golden flood of haze.
They also say, if earth or stone
From verdant Erin's hallowed land
Were on this magic island thrown,
For ever fixed it then would stand.
But when for this some little boat
In silence ventures from the shore,
The mermaid sinks - used is the note -
The fairy isle is seen no more.
("The Enchanted Island", by Luke Aylmer Conolly, printed in Poems of the Irish People 2016)
I will go, and leave the streetways,
And the world's wild, dinsome places,
With the hurrying, weary feetways,
And the folks of frenzied faces;
I will go through darkened spaces,
Morning glad, or starlight pale,
Through the rivers and the passes,
Till I find among the grasses,
Long sweet sleep among the grasses
Of the graves of Inishail.
Ah, ye daunt me, with your wonder,
And your toils about you lying,
O ye cities, with your thunder,
And your children in you, dying,
And I weary, ever sighing,
For the whisper of the West.
Where the glow and glamour meeting,
And the waves on long shores beating,
Are but echoes of the beating
Of the life's blood in my breast.
I will plait a roof of rashes
For the low place of my sleeping,
Where the wistful water plashes,
Crooning, croodling, laughing, weeping,
And the winds from Cruachan sweeping
Join their gladness and their wail;
Till the angels' glory blinds me,
And the long sleep goes and finds me,
In the tangled grasses finds me,
By the graves of Inishail.
("Inishail", by Anonymous, printing in Poems of the Irish People, 2016)
I love this word picture in the Bible. Egypt is described as “the iron furnace”.
I believe the Bible is the Word of God and that He inspired every word therein. I also believe He wants us to desire to read His Word. I would like to think that He put this word picture in Deuteronomy for me because He knew that one day I would read this chapter, find this picture, and smile.
Four sharp scythes sweeping - in concert keeping
The rich-robed meadow's broad bosom o'er,
Four strong men mowing, with bright health glowing
A long green swath spread each man before;
With sinews springing - my keep glad swinging,-
I strode - the fourth man in that blithe band;
As stalk of corn that summer morn,
The scythe felt light in my stalwart hand.
Oh, King of Glory! How changed my story,
Since in youth's noontide - long, long ago,
I mowed that meadow - no cloudy shadow
Between my brow and the hot sun's glow;
Fair, girls raking the hay - and making
The fields resound with their laugh and glee,
Their voices ringing - than cuckoo's singing,
Made music sweeter by far to me.
Bees hover over the honied clover,
Then nestward hied upon wings of light;
No use in trying to trace them flying -
One brief low hum and they're out of sight,
On downy thistle bright insects nestle,
Or flutter skyward on painted wings,
At times alighting on flowers inviting -
'Twas pleasant watching the airy things.
From hazel bushes came songs of thrushes
And blackbirds - sweeter than harper's lay;
While high in ether - with sun-tipped feather -
The skylark warbled his anthem gay;
With throats distended, sweet linnets blendind
A thousand notes in one glorious chime,
Oh, King Eternal, 'twas life supernal
In beauteous Erin, that pleasant time.
("A Day in Ireland", translated by Michael Cavanagh, printed in Poems of the Irish People, 2016)
I learned while reading these poems that Ireland is sometimes called Erin or Eiré, as though the poets are speaking of Ireland as a long lost love, beautiful and full of happy memories.
I have been meaning to write this thank you post for my Aunt, a librarian, who rescued these old books to give to me. I love having old books on my shelf. It’s nice to think about the people who loved them before me. How many hands have held the covers and turned the pages? What is written in the flyleaf? Did I say I love old books?
Swiss Family Robinson, by Robert Louis Stevenson, copyright 1882, and illustrated. This copy has some pages falling out. It is yellowed and worn. There is a name on the first page and the date 4/19/09. When I read this copy, I plan to read it very carefully.
Mrs. Rorer’s Cook Book, by Mrs S. T. Rorer, copyright 1886. This “Manual of Home Economics” is in remarkable shape for its age. There is a lovely picture of Mrs. Rorer with a tissue sheet between the picture and the title page. There is a handwritten recipe for fudge dated December 1907 and a Lemon Pie recipe from 1901.
The Beacon Gate to Reading, by M.E. Sullivan and Philena Morris Cox, copyright 1926. The name of this flyleaf is Mrs Knuss (I think). This is a little primer that was used by young children to learn to read. There are even colored pictures and practice pages. A few of the practice pages have been practiced on.
Life on the Mississippi, by Mark Twain, copyright 1917. There is an illustration across from the title page. I believe the book is part seven of a set called The Complete Works of Mark Twain. There is a roman numeral VII on the spine, as well as an engraving of the profile of Mark Twain.
Rose in Bloom, by Louisa M. Alcott, copyright 1904. Like Mrs. Rorer’s cookbook, there is a picture with a tissue cover next to the title page. This volume also has illustrations. I haven’t read much of Louisa May Alcott, so I look forward to reading this book. Although, it is titled “A Sequel to Eight Cousins“, so I may need to read that first.
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. There is no copyright date on this book, but the inscription on the flyleaf says “From Grandma, Christmas 1897”. This copy of Jane Eyre has lovely detailing on the cove of green vines; you can see them in the picture.
Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo. There is no copyright date. This volume is in exceptional condition; there is just a little tear on the spine. This is my third copy of Les Miserables which I intend to read again soon so I can share it with you. It is one of my favorite stories.
The Standard Book of British and American Verse, selected by Nella Braddy, copyright 1932. One of the special things I noticed about this book was the list of authors. The list includes the authors’ names and birth to death years. When this volume was published, poets like William Butler Yeats, Robert Frost, and Rudyard Kipling were still alive. The note on the flyleaf says, “A gift to one who is so versatile, from one who loves to see people like that.” I’m looking forward to reading the poems in this volume.
McGuffey’s First Eclectic Reader, revised edition, copyright 1920. This is in the best condition of these books. The binding is till tight and the pages clean. I may even be able to use it with my own children one day. McGuffey has a great reputation for teaching children to read.
There is no such thing as too many books. Thank you, Aunt, for giving these to me!
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnets wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
("The Lake of Innisfree", by William Butler Yeats, printed in Poems of the Irish People, 2016)
I think Mr Yeats and I have similar dreams for finding peace. He dreams in this poem of a cabin by the lake where he can have a garden and bee hive. It is a place where he can listen to the waves and watch the sunrise and sunset. It is a place he doesn’t have yet, because he stands on the roads and pavements yearning for it. I feel the same way when I drive to work every day. I want a place where I can watch the sun rise and keep a nice garden and have great, tall trees, but I don’t have that peaceful place yet.
Weary men, what reap ye? - Golden corn for the stranger.
What sow ye?- Human corses that wait for the avenger.
Fainting forms, hunger-stricken, what see ye in the offing?-
Stately ships to bear our food away, amid the stranger's scoffing.
There's a proud array of soldiers - what do they round your door?
They guard our master's granaries from the thin hands of the poor.
Pale mothers, wherefore weeping? Would to God that we were dead -
Our children swoon before us, and we cannot give them bread.
Little children, tears are strange upon your infant faces,
God meant you but to smile within your mother's soft embraces.
Oh, we know not what is smiling, and we know not what is dying;
But we're hungry, very hungry, and we cannot stop our crying.
And some of us grow old and white - we know not what it means;
But, as they lie beside us we tremble in our dreams.
There's a gaunt crowd on the highway - are you come to pray to man,
With hollow eyes that cannot weep, and for words your faces wan?
No; the blood is dead within our veins - we care not now for life;
Let us die hid in the ditches, far from children and from wife!
We cannot stay and listen to their raving famished cries -
Bread! Bread! Bread! and none to still their agonies.
We left our infants playing with their dead mother's hand:
We left our maidens maddened by the fever's scorching brand:
Better, maiden, thou wert strangled in thy own dark-twisted tresses -
Better, infant, thou wert smothered in thy mother's first caresses.
We are fainting in our misery, but God will hear our groan;
Yet, if fellowmen desert us, will He hearken from His throne?
Accursed are we in our own land, yet toil we still and toil;
But the stranger reaps our harvest - the alien owns our soil.
O Christ! how have we sinned, that on our native plains
We perish homeless, naked, starved, with branded brow like Cain's?
Dying, dying wearily, with a torture sure and slow -
Dying as a dog would die, by the wayside as we go.
One by one they're falling round us, their pale faces to the sky;
We've no strength left to dig them graves - there let them lie.
The wild bird, if he's stricken, is mourned by the others,
But we - we die in Christian land, - we die amid our brothers,
In a land which God has given us, like a wild beast in his cave,
Without a tear, a prayer, a shroud, a coffin, or a grave.
Ha! but think ye the contortions on each livid face ye see,
Will not be read on Judgement-day by eyes of Deity?
We are wretches, famished, scorned, human tools to build your pride,
But God will yet take vengeance for the souls for whom Christ died.
Now in your hour of pleasure - bask ye in the world's caress;
But our whitening bones against ye will rise as witnesses,
From the cabins and the ditches in their charred, uncoffined masses,
For the Angel of the Trumpet will know them as he passes.
A ghastly special army, before the great God we'll stand
And arraign ye as our murderers, the spoilers of our land!
("The Famine Year" by Lady Wilde, printed in Poems of the Irish People, 2016)
This poem reminds me of one of my favorite books, Nory Ryan’s Song, by Patricia Reilly Giff. Though it is a children’s book, it tells the story of the Irish Potato Famine and the sorrows felt by the Irish during that time. I will re-read it and share it with you soon. I hope you liked this poem. It is sad, but I feel like it has a triumphant and hopeful ending.
Terrapin – any of several species of North American fresh-water or tidewater turtles characterized by a horny beak, a shield covered with epidermic plates, and partly webbed feet
“[Roosevelt] weighed eight and a half pounds and began life as a hearty baby, bright and hyperactive. His mother remarked that he looked like a terrapin, but he was soon declared a beautiful child, blond and blue-eyed.”