Poems

EASTER 1916
I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

That woman’s days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our wingèd horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone’s in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven’s part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse—
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.


The Famine Year (The Stricken Land)

Weary men, what reap ye? – Golden corn for the stranger…………
What sow ye? – human corpses that wait for the avenger………….
Fainting forms, hunger–stricken, what see you in the offing?…….
Stately ships to bear our food away, amid the stranger’s scoffing.
There’s a proud array of soldiers – what do they round your door?.
They guard our masters’ granaries from the thin hands of the poor.
Pale mothers, wherefore weeping -would to God that we were dead;
Our children swoon before us, and we cannot give them bread…….

Little children, tears are strange upon your infant faces,
God meant you but to smile within your mother’s soft embraces.
Oh! we know not what is smiling, and we know not what is dying;
We’re hungry, very hungry, and we cannot stop our crying.
And some of us grow cold and white – we know not what it means;
But, as they lie beside us, we tremble in our dreams.
There’s a gaunt crowd on the highway – are ye come to pray to man,
With hollow eyes that cannot weep, and for words your faces wan?

No; the blood is dead within our veins – we care not now for life;
Let us die hid in the ditches, far from children and from wife;
We cannot stay and listen to their raving, famished cries –
Bread! Bread! Bread! and none to still their agonies.
We left our infants playing with their dead mother’s hand:
We left our maidens maddened by the fever’s scorching brand:
Better, maiden, thou were strangled in thy own dark–twisted tresses –
Better, infant, thou wert smothered in thy mother’s first caresses.

We are fainting in our misery, but God will hear our groan:
Yet, if fellow – men desert us, will He hearken from His Throne?
Accursed are we in our own land, yet toil we still and toil;
But the stranger reaps our harvest – the alien owns our soil.
O Christ! how have we sinned, that on our native plains
We perish houseless, naked, starved, with branded brow, like Cain’s?
Dying, dying wearily, with a torture sure and slow –
Dying, as a dog would die, by the wayside as we go.

One by one they’re falling round us, their pale faces to the sky;
We’ve no strength left to dig them graves – there let them lie.
The wild bird, if he’s stricken, is mourned by the others,
But we – we die in a Christian land – we die amid our brothers,
In the land which God has given, like a wild beast in his cave,
Without a tear, a prayer, a shroud, a coffin or a grave.
Ha! but think ye the contortions on each livid face ye see,
Will not be read on judgement – day by eyes of Deity?

We are wretches, famished, scorned, human tools to build your pride,
But God will take vengeance for the souls for whom Christ died.
Now is your hour of pleasure – bask ye in the world’s caresses;
But our whitening bones against ye will rise as witnesses,
From the cabins and the ditches, in their charred, uncoffin’d masses,
For the Angel of the Trumpet will know them as he passes.
A ghastly, spectral army, before the great God we’ll stand,
And arraign ye as our murderers, the spoilers of our land.


PADDYS DREAM

Once upon a time, I was invited by an old friend of mine
To come over to his residence and taste his beer and wine
Well we ate lobster salad and lots of other truck
And we drank each other’s health until the hour of three had struck
Well we drank until we didn’t know which was wine or beer
That our heads felt rather heavy, and my brains not very clear
Well how I got home that night, I don’t really know, my prayers I think I said,
But anyhow, I was paralysed when I got into bed

Well I died and I went to heaven, I found that repentance was now for me too late
When suddenly I was ushered before the golden gates
“Well what do you want?” says Peter, “don’t you know you cant get in?
For you must surely suffer, that greedy glutton’s sin”
Then I turned aside and said no more, and turned my head in shame
And Peter’s clerk, he’s stood close by and he wrote, Lost, against my name

Well next came an Italian, one who I knew very well
So I stopped and I listened patiently, to the story he might tell
“Ah da good da father Saint Pedro, I come a to you a at last
My peanut days are over, my banana nights are pasta
I treat my neighbour like a myself, no begs no robs no steal
I never run a da sidewalks, I throwa mya banana da peel”
“When you got out”, says Peter, “your gains were ill begotten
Your peanut shells were empty, your bananas, oft times rotten”
Well the Italian turned aside, and a tear was in his eye
He came and stood behind me, and heaved a heavy sigh

Well next came an aged Hebrew, with a satchel in his hand
And before the gate of old St. Peter, the Hebrew stood his stand
“Ah the good father Peter, I vill tell you what ve’ll do
I’ve got jewellery fit for hangels, I vill hauction off to you
I could sell them on the instalment plan, but that would be a sin
So, I will give them to you for half price, if you vill let me in
On earth I keep a clothing store, my goods are nice and strong
And to show you, I have an over coat, I forgets to bring along
“Are you deluded well”, says Peter, “for very well you know
There’s little use for overcoats, where you will have to go”
Well the Hebrew turned aside, and as he was a friend of mine
Just like me and all the rest, he took his place in line

Well next came an old maid from England, one bound to haveher way
So she began addressing Peter, in this most peculiar way
“Oh goodness gracious me, here I am after gossiping many a year
So open the gate and let me in, I’m catching cold out here
And give me a first class pair of wings, a silver shield and then
I won’t be afraid of those naughty naughty men
“No” Peter answered bluntly “no angels have grey hair
And as you have no sons or daughter, you’d be a stranger there”
Well the poor old maid wilted, she must ever more opine
And just like me and all the rest, she waddled into line

Well next came poor Paddy, a son of Erin’s Isle
And he greeted old St Peter with a very gracious smile
“Ha ha, it’s yourself, St Peter, looking so nice and sweet
So get yer clerk to let me in and show me to me seat”
“Hold” cried Peter “your case like all the rest must first be tried
And you will have to show a passport, before you get inside”
“Fer Jasus sake St Peter, or for supper I’ll be late”
So poor Paddy, he took of his little ould cap, and he threw it inside the gate
“Go get thy hat” says Peter, “thou sacrilegious lout”
So poor Paddy he went, and he slammed the gate, and he locked St Peter out

Then, then through the keyhole, loud he cried,
“Ya ha ha me boyo, I’m the master now yer see
But I’ll give up heaven the gate and the crown
If you’ll set the Six Counties free
Well then I awoke, and found that my head was between the bed and the wall
The sheets were all tangled round my feet ’twas the beer that did it all


Borrow Borrow.

Borrow borrow we will borrow millions,
Anywhere, everywhere, we will borrow on.
Dundee, Hamilton, we’d even tap the Vatican,
If we go to Dublin we will borrow there

For there’s not a Bank like the bank of Scotland
No not one and there never shall be one,
The Bank Manager knows all about our troubles,
We’ll sell, sell, sell ’til there’s no one left,
For there’s not a Bank like the Bank of Scotland
No not one and there never shall be one

Up To Our Knees in Debt

Hello Hello we’re 70 million in debt,
Hello Hello we’re not insolvent yet,
We’re up to our knees in Murray’s debt
Sell players or we’ll die
For we are the poorest club in Scotland.

Derry’s Overdraft

The cry was no more spending
No more spending or we’ll die, die, die,
With cap in hand and millions owed, We’d sell Old Derry’s walls.


Marist Brother Walfrid

They came over in their thousands
starving and deprived
Destitute and penniless,
these Irish were denied.

They had no rights as humans
and treated worse than dogs
As Glasgow would not tolerate
these Irish from the bogs.

Disease was rife and food was scarce
each night a bloody scene
With running battles in the streets
’til one man intervened.

The thought of all this carnage
brought tears to this man’s eyes
And from these bloodied East End streets
Rose up Paradise.

His vision, build a football Club
a new game to this land
His plan, to stop the battles,
unite these warring bands.

And to feed the sick and needy,
the infirm, the disabled
By putting one square meal a day
upon a friendly table.

St Mary’s church awaited
Just off the Gallowgate
And our club was formally founded
in 1888.

This united Scots and Irish
and the crowds would come along
And the profits made from every game
fed the hungry and forlorn.

He appeased the mobs, through Gaelic,
by stating “Celtic” was it’s name
And the Marist Brother Walfrid
watched every single game.

Food upon the table,
one square meal a day
And that charity still exists
that’s the Glasgow Celtic way


Voices of Thunder.

Quickly the shuffling feet rush up, up, up. They mount stairway towards the sky,bodies passing in a solid sway, kitted green and white, the Celtic.way.

The skies rolled dark above their heads and a constant Thunder pounded dread,see opposition staged fear in fright, in glimpse of a Parkhead champions night.

Walk alone, no, none that would, surrounded in belief by this brotherhood, allchallenges offered would but be met, the thunder will tell them, they don’t hear it yet.

The volumes that echo into the night, with anticipation and sheer delight, there is no comparison to the passion sound, there is no likeness where can be found.For this is Celtic.

Those before have plied their trade, they stood amazed at shows displayed, they have frozen stiff at Celtic pride, for there is no bushel where fear can hide.Welcome to Celtic and the ‘Voices of Thunder.’

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