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Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

Easter Week


(In memory of Joseph Mary Plunkett)

("Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
It's with O'Leary in the grave.")
                 --William Butler Yeats.

              1"Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
              2   It's with O'Leary in the grave."
              3Then, Yeats, what gave that Easter dawn
              4   A hue so radiantly brave?

              5There was a rain of blood that day,
              6   Red rain in gay blue April weather.
              7It blessed the earth till it gave birth
              8   To valour thick as blooms of heather.

              9Romantic Ireland never dies!
            10   O'Leary lies in fertile ground,
            11And songs and spears throughout the years
            12   Rise up where patriot graves are found.

            13Immortal patriots newly dead
            14   And ye that bled in bygone years,
            15What banners rise before your eyes?
            16   What is the tune that greets your ears?

            17The young Republic's banners smile
            18   For many a mile where troops convene.
            19O'Connell street is loudly sweet
            20   With strains of Wearing of the Green.

            21The soil of Ireland throbs and glows
            22   With life that knows the hour is here
            23To strike again like Irishmen
            24   For that which Irishmen hold dear.

            25Lord Edward leaves his resting place
            26   And Sarsfield's face is glad and fierce.
            27See Emmet leap from troubled sleep
            28   To grasp the hand of Padraic Pearse!

            29There is no rope can strangle song
            30   And not for long death takes his toll.
            31No prison bars can dim the stars
            32   Nor quicklime eat the living soul.

            33Romantic Ireland is not old.
            34   For years untold her youth shall shine.
            35Her heart is fed on Heavenly bread,
            36   The blood of martyrs is her wine.

Notes

1] The first two verses are the refrain from Yeats' "September, 1913."

25] Lord Edward: Lord Edward Fitzgerald (1763-98), Irish conspirator.

26] Sarsfield: Patrick Sarsfield (died 1693), Irish Jacobite.

27] Emmet: Robert Emmet (1778-1803).

28] Padraic Pearse: poet and schoolmaster, general of the Easter1916 Irish uprising.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Joyce Kilmer, Main Street and Other Poems (New York: George H. Doran Company, 1917), p. 66. PS 3521 I38M3 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1917
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1997.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/27

Rhyme: abab


Other poems by Joyce Kilmer