Moira's Keening


in verse of the death of an Irish soldier in Flanders:

O Mountains of Erin,
Your beauty is fled;
Beyond you in Flanders,
My darling lies dead.

Through the dunes and the grasses
Bespattered with blood,
They bore him; and round him,
Bareheaded they stood,

While the chaplain in khaki
Was reading a prayer,
And the wind for his keening
Was moaning an air.

O son of grey Connaught,
No more shall we stand
By the dark lough at evening,
My hand in your hand,

And talk of a houseen
To hold you and me,
The scent of the heather,
The gorse on the lea.

Yet bridegroom of mine,
You are waiting afar,
Past the peak and the blueness,
The shine of yon star,

Where Mary the Mother
Is bending her head,
And you sleep at her crooning,
O boy of mine! dead.

(by Norreys Jephson O'Conor)