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by Thomas Moore
the greatest Irish lyrist
born Dublin, 1779 - died 1852
Have you not seen the timid tear
Steal trembling from mine eye?
Have you not mark'd the flush of fear,
Or caught the murmur'd sigh?
And can you think my love is chill,
Nor fix'd on you alone?
And can you rend, by doubting still,
A heart so much your own?

To you my soul's affections move
Devoutly, warmly, true:
My life has been a task of love,
One long, long thought of you.
If all your tender faith is o'er,
If still my truth you'll try;
Alas! I know but one proof more -
I'll bless your name, and die!

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..and if you listen to LiveIreland channel one, you may hear that one recited by Seamus himself - the title of the poem is "Bogland" -
I have to agree with you. If you can find.

This is one of those "essential" Irish poems about what it means to be Irish, to possess the freedom of being irish, to connect to all that is Celtic and Irish. It also speaks to humanity's need for "home", for belonging, for touching the face of nature, or, as I would prefer to say, living before the Face of God. See how the speaker of the poem almost makes heaven out of Innisfree and all the beauty that abounds there. And he finished the message by telling the listener that even within the modernity and confines of the city (pavements grey) Innisfree's natural beauty wells up from his very heart, calling him "home."

I love the traditional song, not madefrom this poem, but speaking of going home to Innisfree. Thanks for recalling this to all of us.

Your friend in St. Louis
Frank Daub
Ah - The Isle of Innisfree - the song captivated me from the first I heard it, with its plaintive, haunting, longing melody -

I've met some folks who say that I'm a dreamer,
And I've no doubt there's truth in what they say,
But sure a body's bound to be a dreamer
When all the things he loves are far away.

And precious things are dreams unto an exile.
They take him o'er the land across the sea --
Especially when it happens he's an exile
From that dear lovely Isle of Inisfree.

And when the moonlight peeps across the rooftops
Of this great city, wondrous though it be,
I scarcely feel its wonder or its laughter.
I'm once again back home in Inisfree.

I wander o'er green hills through dreamy valleys
And find a peace no other land could know.
I hear the birds make music fit for angels
And watch the rivers laughing as they flow.

And then into a humble shack I wander --
My dear old home -- and tenderly behold
The folks I love around the turf fire gathered.
On bended knees, their rosary is told.

But dreams don't last --
Though dreams are not forgotten --
And soon I'm back to stern reality.
But though they pave the footways here with gold dust,
I still would choose the Isle of Inisfree.

- Dick Farrelly


I take it upon myself to hereby ‘daub’ you ‘Keeper of the Verse’ for LI is truly fortunate to have your erudite insights on matters of the written word. Now, who am I to contend Seamus Heaney? Yes he is a ‘Northman’ . . . from Derry I believe. A Poet Laureate to boot! However, call me traditional if you must . . . but I am still partial to the ‘old Yeats’. But isn’t that the appeal of poetry. In each voicing of the words we can find our own truth, beauty, tragedy, hope . . . that which speaks to us intimately. Which brings me to my own poem? I offer it in all humility. I wrote this poem in 1992 some years before the signing of the N.I. Peace Agreement on April 10, 1998. I was on a visit home to Belfast, from Canada, and was once again made acutely aware of the continuing divide between N.I.’s two political traditions. Having lived through the violent times of N.I.’s ‘Troubles’ in the late 60s and 70s I was no stranger to the events which impacted the lives of all that lived there. However, with the continued positive evolution of the historic ‘Good Friday Agreement’ we are now moving (however slowly ) towards that future ‘someday’ when my ‘cry for help’, as expressed below, will become (hopefully) but a postscript in the annals of the Irish experience.

Oh! Hear My Prayer St. Patrick. (A poem by Walter Magill © Copyright 1992)

Oh! Hear my prayer St. Patrick
From this your Erin’s Isle
Your people all are fighting
Their hearts are filled with vile
Their blood is on your green fields
Your towns and cities fair
Your children all are crying
Their future’s in despair.

Oh! Hear My Prayer St. Patrick
To you I humbly plead
Grant peace to all your people
To each their God and creed
To each bestow your blessing
And give your shamrock green
And touch their hearts with loving
A place they’ve never been.

Oh! Hear My Prayer St. Patrick
Before I’m laid to rest
To walk the streets of Ireland
My shamrock on my breast
My hand to hold with strangers
To walk with friend and foe
To seal the path of friendship
Myself with them will go.

Oh! Hear My Prayer St. Patrick
From this your Erin’s Isle
The darkness is upon us
We need your loving smile
We need your Staff of Comfort
Your peace for all to see
Your Christian hands of blessing
We need your TRINITY!

Walter . . .
Some respond with a remark. A poet responds with his art and his heart. This is so reminiscent of the longing words of so many grand Irish poets.

Very "sweet" (read WELL DONE) in terms of its craftsmanship. Truly, I'd like to read more of your work, especially across a range of themes and subjects -- love, faith, work, women, drink and craic -- the things an Irish poet would capture.

In 2016 Ireland will celebrate the Rising (I hope). Let's try to work on a piece that would be worthy of the men and women of those times. Wouldn't that be a great challenge?

We'll do it at the Dubliner, over a good pipe of tobacco and the Black Stuff.

Adios, Rennaisance Rider.

Frank in St. Louis
‘Wee Davy’

This is not a poem but a poignant piece written by the late James Young (a Belfast actor/comedian) who in the trying times of N.I.’s ongoing religious strife gave us pause to look at ourselves. Although the topic deals with religious intolerance it is not without its universal appeal for intolerance knows no boundaries. I recorded this in memory of James and to remind myself of ‘the distance yet to go’. Now you get to hear me talk!

Walter . . .
I might take issue with your statement that "Wee Davy" is not a poem, as it it rhymes beautifully, but that is not what struck me about it. It reminded me of a piece done years ago by Ed Bradley, veteran CBS reporter, now dead of leukemia (RIP) on the politico-religious strife in NI. He was talking to some kids on the street, and asked one about some other kids he could see down the street.
"We don't play with them..!" the youngster said.
"Why not..??" said Ed.
"because they're Catholic..!!" the boy said, incredulously.
"How can you know that..?? To me they look just like you."
"You can just tell..!!" the boy said, as though he couldn't believe that it was not obvious...
The words may not be the exact ones, but that was the point of the story, and it struck me deeply. The tragedy of the children, who cannot understand why they hate, but are taught that they must, saddened me utterly. I am encouraged by recent progress, all the while knowing that such prejudices die slow, agonizing deaths. Speaking from personal experience, I believe that one who claims no prejudice deludes himself, but if he can recognize his own prejudices and strive to correct them, then healing can begin...
So good to hear your voice, Walter..!! Go raibh maith agat..!!
Dabhoch, Pierre,

It is always heart-warming to read your comments and rich contributions to this forum. We learn so much from each other.

Sad to note, Dabhoch, had the boy in your story been from another street in a ‘Catholic area’ and asked the same question, his reply would have been similar . . . “because they're Protestant...!"

I too was once a boy on those very same streets (albeit, light years ago) and know very well the two solitudes in which children are raised. Through ‘accident of birth’, call it what you will, we are all very much creatures of our environment. Happily, change can and does take place. In the midst of darkness we must always search for light.

Well you may wonder, on what street I traversed. Yours to ponder!

Walter . . .

P.S. Thanks for taking the time to include the Ed Bradley story. It highlights the responsibility that we the parents have, to raise our children in a manner tolerant of others. As my mother (long since gone) never tired of saying, ‘Walter, it’s not where you live that’s important, it’s how you live.’

P.S.S. I concede your point graciously . . . ‘Wee Davy’ qualifies as a poem.

Thank you for your kind comments re. my poem. Yes, I have often thought of ‘putting it to song’. However, you know what they say . . . ‘the way to he## is paved with good intentions’. One day perhaps!

Walter . . .
She's not Irish. an american of English descent, but one of the most perceptive yet simple poets who ever lived. I've studied, written about, and taught Emily Dickinson for over 17 years. Her poetry is as fresh and exciting as the day when she put pen to paper.

I wanted to share two of her wonderful poems with my LI family. the first is about love; the second about hope. Two of life's most essential values.


You left me, sweet, two legacies,—
A legacy of love
A Heavenly Father would content,
Had He the offer of;

You left me boundaries of pain
Capacious as the sea,
Between eternity and time,
Your consciousness and me.


HOPE is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I ’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Thirty-six years ago to the day - the hour was noon - one Spring day in Belfast. History recants the story. In all conflicts the innocent suffer. Bombs do not discriminate – they kill and maim with equal resolution regardless of class, creed, age, gender or colour. None are immune. To a lasting peace for all.

ONE SPRING DAY IN BELFAST - Donegall Street, March 20, 1972
(A poem by Walter Magill © Copyright 2008)

I was there that day
When day was turned to night.
When acrid plumes of the bomber’s loom
Wrought ruthless in the fight.

I was there that day
Coincidence of chance.
Robbed in a flash
Of ignorance – Of innocence.

I was there that day
I and the instant dead.
I and the bits of burning flesh
Laid blackened, bloodied, bled.

I was there that day
In shrouds the crack from hell.
The silenced bloody aftermath
The pall on wounded fell.

I was there that day
Caught victim in the fray.
Bloodied, bruised, bewildered
In midnight of the day.

I was there that day
And left to echo why?
Of Shadowed Men
Their cause for us to die.

I was there that day
My mantra drums to beat.
Lest we forget again
And God forbid - repeat.

I was there that day
A day of shame - vainglory.
One Spring day in Belfast
The dead can’t write the story.



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