James Bernard Dollard

(30 August 1872 - 1946 / Ireland)

Ballad Of The Banshee - Poem by James Bernard Dollard

Back thro' the hills I hurried home,
Ever my boding soul would say:
'Mother and sister bid thee come,
Long, too long has been thy stay.'

Stars shone out, but the moon was pale,
Touched by a black cloud's ragged rim,
Sudden I heard the Banshee's wail
Where Malmor's war-tower rises grim.

Quickly I strode across the slope,
Passed the grove and the Fairy Mound
(Gloomy the moat where blind owls mope)
Scarcely breathing, I glanced around.

Mother of mercy! there she sat,
A woman clad in a snow-white shroud,
Streamed her hair to the damp moss-mat,
White the face on her bosom bowed!

'Spirit of Woe' I eager cried,
'Tell me none that I love has gone,
Cold is the grave'–my accents died–
The Banshee lifted her face so wan.

Pale and wan as the waning moon,
Seen when the sun-spears herald dawn.
Ceased all sudden her dreary croon,
Full on my own her wild eyes shone,

Burned and seared my inmost soul.
(When shall sorrow depart from me?)
Black-winged terror upon me stole,
Blindly gaping, I turned to flee!

Back by the grove and haunted mound,
O'er the lone road I know not how,

Hearkened afar my baying hound
Home at last at the low hill's brow!

Lone the cottage–the door flung wide,
Four lights burned–oh, sight of dread!
Breathing a prayer, I rushed inside,
'Mercy, God!' 'twas my mother, dead!

Dead and white as the fallen leaf,
(Kneeling, my sister prayed near by),
Wild as I wrestled with my grief,
Far and faint came the Banshee's cry!

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, May 10, 2012



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