Guest poem sent in by a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous
(Poem #1607) Lament for Thomas MacDonagh
He shall not hear the bittern cry In the wild sky, where he is lain, Nor voices of the sweeter birds Above the wailing of the rain. Nor shall he know when loud March blows Thro' slanting snows her fanfare shrill, Blowing to flame the golden cup Of many an upset daffodil. But when the dark cow leaves the moor, And pastures poor with greedy weeds, Perhaps he'll hear her low at morn Lifting her horn in pleasant meads.
As there are no Francis Ledwidge poems on your page, I thought that I would send this one on to you. Ledwidge was an Irish nationalist, from a quite poor background who, notwithstanding his nationalist feelings, joined the British army in the First World War. He felt bitterly let down when, in the middle of that war, in the aftermath of the Easter Rebellion in Dublin in 1916, the British authorities executed the leaders of this rebellion, one of whom was his friend, the poet Thomas MacDonagh. Notwithstanding his disillusion, he returned to the Front and was killed himself at the age of 29 in the Battle of Ypres in Belgium. The Easter Rising gave rise to an extraordinary amount of poetry. One of the most moving has been run previously, Padraic Pearses "The Mother" [Poem #1188], written by one of MacDonaghs fellow rebels and poet on the eve of his own execution. Yeats poem, "Easter 1916" [Poem #1011] was also written about the same event. I first came across this poem in school, and like very much the sound of the first lines. Apart from the beauty of this testament to a slain friend, the appropriateness of wailing, lamenting, tearlike rain as a metaphor for the grief associated with death, the arrival of spring representing the hope perhaps of something better to follow, the poem (and in particular, the first two verses) conjure up for me a vivid image of the weather, the feel and the look of the Irish countryside. The dark cow leaving the moor, supposedly, is a metaphor for Ireland. I think that this is the poets hope that when things get better for his country that his executed friend will somehow become aware of this and know that his own death has not been in vain. [Links] On Ledwidge: http://www.slane.com/ledwidge.htm and http://oldpoetry.com/authors/Francis%20Ledwidge [broken link] http://www.pgil-eirdata.org/html/pgil_datasets/authors/l/Ledwidge,F/life.htm On MacDonagh: http://www.searcs-web.com/mcdonagh.html and http://www.1916rising.com/pic_tom_mcdonagh.html