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Poem by Dora Sigerson Shorter


A Bird from the West


At the grey dawn, amongst the felling leaves,
   A little bird outside my window swung,
High on a topmost branch he trilled his song,
   And Ireland! Ireland! Ireland! ever sung.

Take me, I cried, back to my island home;
   Sweet bird, my soul shall ride between thy wings;
For my lone spirit wide his pinions spread,
   And home and home and home he ever sings.

We lingered over Ulster stern and wild.
   I called: Arise! doth none remember me?
One turnèd in the darkness murmuring,
   How loud upon the breakers sobs the sea!

We rested over Connaughtwhispering said:
   Awake, awake, and welcome!  I am here.
One woke and shivered at the morning grey;
   The trees, I never heard them sigh so drear.

We flew low over Munster.  Long I wept:
   You used to love me, love me once again!
They spoke from out the shadows wondering;
   Youd think of tears, so bitter falls the rain.

Long over Leinster lingered we. Good-bye!
   My best beloved, good-bye for evermore.
Sleepless they tossed and whispered to the dawn;
   So sad a wind was never heard before.

Was it a dream I dreamt?  For yet there swings
   In the grey morn a bird upon the bough,
And Ireland! Ireland! Ireland! ever sings.
   Oh! fair the breaking day in Ireland now.



Dora Sigerson Shorter


Dora Sigerson Shorter's other poems:
  1. The Kine of My Father
  2. An Imperfect Revolution
  3. Sixteen Dead Men
  4. The Fairy Changeling
  5. You Will Not Come Again


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