You, harrowing my thought, exhaust my days,
You, Kerryman, long-buried, coffin-laid,
Alas, that foreign slab in Flanders clay!
Maurice, whose knightly line from Florence came.
Of all my heart had ever weathered ache,
It had not colour nor torch-flame nor taste;
Suffering superfluous or approximate
I bore before I knew the truth too plain.
My longing and my hope were forced to wait
Upon the counsels of foreshortened fate,
Oh what a downcast mouse the mountain bare
In seven pregnant years of childing pain!
When first my ears received the envenomed wails,
The doleful chorus of the nation’s fays,
How certain to be heard I sped to prayer!
That Christ vouchsafe your safety, but in vain.
The Lady of Knockany did proclaim
Your loss and Lough Gur’s Earl your fighting name,
Woe rose melodious from Glenorga’s vale
And Shanid sang your Geraldine domain;
In Youghal the female elf upheld your sway,
Moygeela by the Brede alliance claimed,
Nor more could Cahermone nor Kenelmaigue
Nor Imokilly yet wet tears restrain.
The settled Saxon gentry learnt to quake
In royal Tralee from whence your seed we trace,
Assumed their ouster to be destinate.
Nor still in Dingle was the singing spared
Till thrifty merchants wilt and turn afraid;
Their very fear its little need explains:
No fairy women hymn for such as they.
Musical in Dunquin the din they raise
Which Dun an Oir my native neighbour shares;
Sweet-throated More deplores the nonpareil,
Untimely dead, and wept beside the Feale.
Slieve Mish would wish her grieving to be great,
Clean-cut, meat-feeding Eagle, e’en the same,
And Tuohil’s reeks and peaks are desolate
As cattled Brandon’s steeps and cloud-wreathed braes.
(Máire Cruise O’Brien in The Irish Times 30 July 1976)