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Poem by Dora Sigerson Shorter

The Kine of My Father

The kine of my father, they are straying from my keeping;
   The young goats at mischief, but little can I do:
For all through the night did I hear the Banshee keening;
   O youth of my loving, and is it well with you?

All through the night sat my mother with my sorrow;
   Whisht, it is the wind, O one childeen of my heart!
My hair with the wind, and my two hands clasped in anguish;
   Black head of my darling! too long are we apart.

Were your grave at my feet, I would think it half a blessing;
   I could herd then the cattle, and drive the goats away;
Many a Paternoster I would say for your safe keeping;
   I could sleep above your heart, until the dawn of day.

I see you on the prairie, hot with thirst and faint with hunger;
   The head that I love lying low upon the sand.
The vultures shriek impatient, and the coyote dogs are howling,
   Till the blood is pulsing cold within your clenching hand.

I see you on the waters, so white, so still forlorn,
   Your dear eyes unclosing beneath a foreign rain:
A plaything of the winds, you turn and drift unceasing,
   No grave for your resting; O mine the bitter pain!

All through the night did I hear the Banshee keening:
   Somewhere you are dying, and nothing can I do;
My hair with the wind, and my two hands clasped in anguish;
   Bitter is your troubleand I am far from you.

Dora Sigerson Shorter

Dora Sigerson Shorter's other poems:
  1. Cean Duv Deelish
  2. For Ever
  3. Sixteen Dead Men
  4. A Vagrant Heart
  5. The Priests Brother

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