Friday Poetry Reflection, May 16th


Today for my Friday Poetry rubic, as Faoiseamh calls it, I have chosen a poem that my mother sent to me and it is a really nice poem. Incidently I get to see my parents for the first time in five months today so all excited!

So back to the poetry, the poem is an Irish poem, but I will post it in English also. The Poem is by Padraic Pearse and is called “Bean Sléibhe ag Caoineadh a Mhac” and in English it is called “A Woman of The Mountain Keens Her Son


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English Translation:

Grief on the death, it has blackened my heart:
lt has snatched my love and left me desolate,
Without friend or companion under the roof of my house
But this sorrow in the midst of me, and I keening.

As I walked the mountain in the evening
The birds spoke to me sorrowfully,
The sweet snipe spoke and the voiceful curlew
Relating to me that my darling was dead.

I called to you and your voice I heard not,
I called again and I got no answer,
I kissed your mouth, and O God how cold it was!
Ah, cold is your bed in the, lonely churchyard.

O green-sodded grave in which my child is,
Little narrow grave, since you are his bed,
My blessing on you, and thousands of blessings
On the green sods that are over my treasure.

Grief on the death, it cannot be denied,
It lays low, green and withered together,—
And O gentle little son, what tortures me is
That your fair body should be making clay !

This is my Mothers favourite poem, she says it reads better in Irish and I have to agree, though as its old Irish, compared to what I learned at school (I didn’t do Peg, thankfully) it dosen’t make much sense. The English on the other hand is still excellent and really does convey that sense of loss that must rack any Mother when a child dies. I love the way the poet can mak the birds sing “sorrowfully” as to most people birds songs are joyful. I suppose nature can always seem sympathetic to us humans if we interpret it with our moods.

What are your thoughts on the Poem?

Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for SpirtualityIreland.org and UCC Express.

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