He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W B Yeats

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Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light;

I would spread the cloths under your feet;

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

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The Irish Wolf by James McCarroll

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Seek music in the wolf’s fierce howl

Or pity in his blood shot eye,

When hunger drives him out to prowl

Beneath the rayless northern sky:

But seek not that we should forgive

The hand that strikes us to the heart,

And yet in mockery bids us live

To count our stars as they depart.

We’ve fed the tyrant with our blood;

Won all his battles-built his throne-

Established him on land and flood,

And sought his glory next our own.

We raised him from his low estate;

We plucked his pagan soul from hell,

And led him pure to heaven’s gate,

Till he, for gold, like Judas fell.

And when in one long, soulless night,

he lay unknown to wealth or fame,

We gave him empire- riches – light,

And taught him how to spell his name.

But now, ungenerous and unjust,

Forgetful of our old renown,

He bows us to the very dust;

But wears our jewels in his crown.

Postscript by Seamus Heaney

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And sometime make the time to drive out west

Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,

In September or October, when the wind

And the light are working off each other

So that the ocean on one side is wild

With foam and glitter, and inland among the stones

The surface of the slate-grey lake is lit

By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,

Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,

Their fully-grown headstrong looking heads

Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.

Useless to think you’ll park and capture it

More thoroughly. You neither here or there,

A hurry through which known and strange things pass

As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways

And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

 

On an Island by John Millington Synge

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You’ve plucked a curlew, drawn a hen,

Washed the shirts of seven men,

You’ve stuffed my pillow, stretched the sheet,

And filled the pan to wash your feet,

You’ve cooped the pullets, wound the clock,

And rinsed the young man’s drinking crock,

And now we’ll dance to jigs and reels,

Nailed boots chasing girls naked heels

Until your father starts to snore,

And Jude, now you’re married, will stretch on the floor.

 

Irish Poetry

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For Father’s day this year, my oldest son gave me the 23 & Me DNA test so I could trace my roots and ancestry. A part of that has been with held to me most of my life. That part has been revealed and now makes a lot of sense to me.

MY DNA

So, in a tribute to my Irish forefathers and mothers, I want to feature some select Irish poetry. I hope you can appreciate this art as much as I do. A few years ago, a friend of mine, Patrick Mulcahy gave me a book of Irish poetry and I loved it then and even more now. Thanks Pat!

Patrick

 

When You Are Old by W.B. Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep

And nodding by the fire take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep.

 

How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face,

 

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, of how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

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