John Boyle O'Reilly

(28 June 1844 - 10 August 1890 / Dowth Castle, County Meath)

Mary - Poem by John Boyle O'Reilly

DEAR honored name, beloved for human ties,
But loved and honored first that One was given
In living proof to erring mortal eyes
That our poor earth is near akin to heaven.

Sweet word of dual meaning: one of grace,
And born of our kind advocate above;
And one by memory linked to that dear face
That blessed my childhood with its mother-love,

And taught me first the simple prayer, 'To thee,
Poor banished sons of Eve, we send our cries.'
Through mist of years, those words recall to me
A childish face upturned to loving eyes.

And yet to some the name of Mary bears
No special meaning and no gracious power;
In that dear word they seek for hidden snares,
As wasps find poison in the sweetest flower.

But faithful hearts can see, o'er doubts and fears,
The Virgin link that binds the Lord to earth;
Which to the upturned trusting face appears
A more than angel, though of human birth.

The sweet-faced moon reflects on cheerless night
The rays of hidden sun to rise to-morrow;
So unseen God still lets His promised light,
Through holy Mary, shine upon our sorrow.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 21, 2012



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