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From the Burren – 1928

Connacht Sentinel 10th January, 1928 p.4

Burren flower Photo: EO'D

Burren flower
Photo: EO’D

No hint, no touch of grim utility,
Earth’s busy functions sleep abandoned here;
Corn-grower, root-grower, nourisher of grain,
All are forgotten, nakedly austere.
Nought but herself, her inmost core, survives,
Stripped to the elements; enskyed and pure,
Remote, and stern, and coldly sanctified;

And therefore, Burren hills, to me you seem
Shrines meet for that which is, and which is not;
Approach beloved ones! Hasten! All is clear,
No bidding need you – you the unforgot!
The door stands open; only come; ah, come;
Come from your far-off realms, with noiseless tread,
Come as you were, no dearer could you be
The Loved, the Lost, the Sundered and the Dead!

Wide glistening pavements fit for ghostly feet,
Where never thought of mart or street intrude,
Only from ledge to ledge spent rain-drops drip,
And half-heard tinklings stir the solitude.
Imponderable wanderers! Shadowy all!
Ghost after ghost; half-veiled; grey muffled; while
With spirit-looks, visions seen in sleep,
Eyes seem to glimmer, lips austerely smile.

Again at dusk-time, or when moonbeams lie
Far on the sheeted silence, fold on fold;
Then with a swifter sequence, soft as light,
Life’s semblances enwrap this shadowy cold
Like autumn leaves, like high-borne clouds, they come
Strange shapes; and others, others, ah, not strange!
Not strange, God knows, but intimately dear
Untouched by time, defiant of all change.

And therefore, Burren hills, grey Burren hills,
Soul of fierce Clare, wild West of all our West,
No mindless tract of earth or strand thou seem’st,
Such as dull maps and solemn charts attest.
Here mid your solitudes, as mid the crowds,
Alike for me thou shinest, realm apart;
Open to all we pine for, pray for, hope;
Sanctified Home-land of th’ unchanging heart.

Emily Lawless.

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About The Burren and Beyond

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