On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.
On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion’s pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay –
O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.
I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that’s known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May
On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay –
When the angel woos the clay he’d lose his wings at the dawn of day.
This poem has been in my head for the last two weeks or so. The problem was it was the second verse, I couldnt remember the first! I studied this poem for my Leaving Cert back in 2004 (God that makes me feel old now) and is probably one of my favourite Kavangh poems, I also like “Epic” and “Inniskeen Road: July Evening” which I also studied.
This poem, of course, can be sung, which is what I think draws me to it as I like to sing. I don’t know the original words to “Dawning of the Day” but the Sinead O’Connor version of this song is well worth looking up. I have never sang this song in public, but its one I might consider singing in the future.