Padraic Colum

(8 December 1881 – 11 January 1972 / County Longford)

Old Woman of the Roads


O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods against the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!
To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!
I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!
I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph!
Och! but I'm weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there's never a house nor bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!
And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house - a house of my own
Out of the wind's and the rain's way.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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Comments about this poem (Old Woman of the Roads by Padraic Colum )

  • Gold Star - 10,411 Points * Sunprincess * (5/27/2014 12:54:00 PM)

    ...........a little house of my own with a beautiful flower garden is a dream of everyone....enjoyed.. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Bernadette Snyder (5/13/2011 11:33:00 AM)

    My brother in Ireland recommended this poem to me and i've found it appropriate -
    i am looking for a little cottage somewhere. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Shelagh Worsell (11/29/2008 3:24:00 PM)

    Following on from my comments regarding Old Woman of the Roads I hasten to add that I was given this to learn in a school in Bromley Kent during the war when all our regular teachers had been called up. The stand-in teacher was an actress who gave meaning to all the work she set us. Martin Swords you are incorrect in thinking that only Irish folk would understand. (Report) Reply

    Rookie - 0 Points Helena ireland (1/2/2015 1:29:00 PM)

    You appear to have misread his comment. Rather than claim that only Irish people would understand he instead simply stated that it is often misunderstood outside Ireland. As an Irish drama teacher who has taught in both Ireland and Britain I would tend to concur with his sentiment.

  • Rookie Shannon Quinn (10/8/2008 2:09:00 PM)

    I Love This Poem.. i Read It In Primary School And Learnt It.. And Now In Secondary School.. As iiT Is Almost National Poem Day.. ii Chose This Poem For My Best Poem (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Mary (mae) Kulka (6/28/2008 6:16:00 PM)

    I learned this when in Primary school in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary. I love it because our teacher, Mrs Honan, RIP brought it to life for us. I am reciting it this afternoon at a Concert in my Parish. We are celebrating its 50th Anniversary. I hope I do it justice. I am pleased to have found your website and will visit it often DV

    Best wishes
    Mary (Mae) Kulka (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Martin Swords (8/26/2007 3:24:00 PM)

    A classic poem, but often misunderstood outside Ireland (Report) Reply

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