Francis Carlin - Three poems

Source: “Francis Carlin” at American Poetry [online - 13.04.2009]; see also two of these poems at Poemhunter [online].


The Ballad of Douglas Bridge

On Douglas Bridge I met a man
Who lived adjacent to Strabane,
Before the English hung him high
For riding with O’Hanlon.

The eyes of him were just as fresh
As when they burned within the flesh;
And his boot-legs were wide apart
From riding with O’Hanlon.

“God save you, Sir,” I said with fear,
“You seem to be a stranger here.”
“Not I,” said he, “nor any man
Who rides with Count O’Hanlon.

“I know each glen from North Tyrone
To Monaghan, and I’ve been known
By every clan and parish, since
I rode with Count O’Hanlon.”

“Before that time,” said he to me,
“My fathers owned the land you see;
But they are now among the moors
A-riding with O’Hanlon.”

“Before that time,” said he with pride,
“My fathers rode where now they ride
As Rapparees, before the time
Of trouble and O’Hanlon.”

“Good night to you, and God be with
The tellers of the tale and myth,
For they are of the spirit-stuff
That rides with Count O’Hanlon.”

“Good night to you,” said I, “and God
Be with the chargers, fairy-shod,
That bear the Ulster heroes forth
To ride with Count O’Hanlon.”

On Douglas Bridge we parted, but
The Gap o’ Dreams is never shut,
To one whose saddled soul to-night
Rides out with Count O’Hanlon.

Anthology of Irish Verse (NY: Boni & Liveright 1922); rep. in Alice Curtayne, The Irish Story: A Survey of Irish History and Culture (Dublin: Clonmore & Reynolds 162),, p.113.

Beyond Rathkelly

As I went over the Far Hill,
Just beyond Rathkelly,
—Och, to be on the Far Hill
O’er Newtonstewart Town!
As I went over the Far Hill
With Marget’s daughter Nellie,
The night was up and the moon was out,
And a star was falling down.

As I went over the Far Hill,
Just beyond Rathkelly,
—Och, to be on the Far Hill
Above the Bridge o’ Moyle!
As I went over the Far Hill,
With Marget’s daughter Nellie,
I made a wish before the star
Had fallen in the Foyle.

As I went over the Far Hill,
Just beyond Rathkelly,
—Och, to be on the Far Hill
With the hopes that I had then!
As I went over the Far Hill,
I wished for little Nellie,
And if a star were falling now
I’d wish for her again.

- From The Second Book of Modern Verse (1919)

The Provinces

O God that I
May arise with the Gael
To the song in the sky
Over Inisfail!

Ulster, your dark
Mold for me;
Munster, a lark
Hold for me!

Connaght, a ‘caoine’
Croon for me;
Lienster, a mean
Stone for me!

O God that I
May arise with the Gael
To the song in the sky
Over Inisfail!

 

- From The Second Book of Modern Verse (1919)

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