Walt Whitman

(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892 / New York / United States)

Old Ireland



FAR hence, amid an isle of wondrous beauty,
Crouching over a grave, an ancient, sorrowful mother,
Once a queen--now lean and tatter'd, seated on the ground,
Her old white hair drooping dishevel'd round her shoulders;
At her feet fallen an unused royal harp,
Long silent--she too long silent--mourning her shrouded hope and
heir;
Of all the earth her heart most full of sorrow, because most full of
love.

Yet a word, ancient mother;
You need crouch there no longer on the cold ground, with forehead
between your knees;
O you need not sit there, veil'd in your old white hair, so
dishevel'd; 10
For know you, the one you mourn is not in that grave;
It was an illusion--the heir, the son you love, was not really dead;
The Lord is not dead--he is risen again, young and strong, in another
country;
Even while you wept there by your fallen harp, by the grave,
What you wept for, was translated, pass'd from the grave,
The winds favor'd, and the sea sail'd it,
And now with rosy and new blood,
Moves to-day in a new country.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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