The fallen parish – Gleninagh

I was reminded of this poem during the week and given that I’ve moved back to the area I might as well add it to my blog 🙂

Church in ruins, stone on the ground

Grass, weed and thistles all around

Ivy, dark green, covers the wall

Rooks overhead, send out a call

Headstones scattered. No structure in place

Some without names, no family can trace

Plenty of children the hard life did take

Many’s her baby a mother did wake

Once there was stone, where now there is grass

Years past it thronged, while the priest said the mass

The people they walked, oft a very long way

To hear the lords prayer, what he did say

The laughter of young ones running about

Must have been joyous, when mass was all out

The men all discussing the news of the day

“Was the crop good?”, “did you bring in the hay?”

Welcoming women, trading stories of life

How it was passing as mother and wife

They pledged their wares, a hen for some spuds

A pig and a donkey, whatever your goods

They baptised their children soon after birth

Married for love, set up home and hearth

They buried their dead, they wept at the grave

To ritual and ceremony, all were a slave

Reading the headstones, many my kin

Were they buried, fearing their sin

Fear of God and his mighty wrath

Obeying commandments, staying on the right path

Now it is silent, no children in sight

No couples about, setting out flight

The dead they are sleeping under the soil

Mere clues to their years of blood, sweat and toil

Theresa O’Donohoe April 2013


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