Padraic Colum

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

Old Woman Of The Roads

Poem by Padraic Colum

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.


Comments about Old Woman Of The Roads by Padraic Colum

  • Kathleen Staddon (7/24/2019 7:46:00 AM)

    Learned this as a child in killorglin about 70 years ago..Strangely, I always felt comfort when reciting it as I visualised being cosy out of the wind and rain.I can still recite most of it.Never recited it to my 4 Australian children so it’s about time I did.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Ann Gilliver (7/9/2019 5:30:00 PM)

    Just so real and fine, learnt this at about 8 years of age, long time ago, brought to life again by a very special friend.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Edward ODonovan (6/8/2019 4:04:00 PM)

    SO SO SO Beautiful I learned this by memory in a little school in Ireland in 1947- -How about that!
    ED(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
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  • Constance Grout (4/30/2019 4:57:00 AM)

    Always loved this poem as a child, made me cry, felt so sorry for old woman(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • connie Grout (4/30/2019 4:55:00 AM)

    I cried reading this poem as a child, but always loved it,93 now and remember feeling so sorry for the old wome(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Sheila Foley née Carroll (4/26/2019 7:02:00 PM)

    Such memories of my childhood days reciting this beautiful poem In Castletown School Co Cork under the wonderful guidance of Mrs Crowley I think I did it justice I still recite it for my grandchildren.(Report)Reply

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  • Bernie lambe (4/18/2019 2:35:00 PM)

    I have loved this poem since I was 10 years old. It epitomises my youth and schooling and is everything I loved about that time. And now it reminds me of wonderful and simple life and way of life., how I felt for the old woman, then, and now I would love to be her in her kittle house, so simple and so perfectly satisfying. I love it. X(Report)Reply

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  • BETTY BYRNE NEE RODEN (4/8/2019 9:35:00 AM)

    What memories from 1947, I loved this poem(Report)Reply

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  • Noreen Kelly (3/18/2019 2:54:00 PM)

    I remember learning this poem when I was a little girl and being ver moved by it. I am now 70 years old and still recite it for my grandchildren. It still touches something deep within me.(Report)Reply

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  • Frances Hasson (7/22/2018 2:40:00 PM)

    I first. learned this poem at school, when I was quite young.I cried about the old woman, having no family or home to live in.
    It left a profound memory on me, that have I carried all my life.
    My parents always looked after those in need old or young.
    I still cry when I recite it.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • paulette de foubert (7/18/2018 3:08:00 AM)

    fondest memories of my beloved mother who was able to resite this entire poem even when alzeimers had robbed her of many other memories, she dearly loved it and would tell me how glad she was that the lady had her own home in the end(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
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  • Jack Cook (6/18/2018 2:17:00 AM)

    In 1949 my primary class at Glebelands Dundee under Mrs. Nichol, won a poetry competition with our delivery of this poem, I don't know why but I woke up this morning with the poem on my mind, we loved poetry in those days and I myself have penned many, many poems and songs, but it all started then, in 1949.(Report)Reply

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  • Catherine in Kerry (6/17/2018 7:02:00 PM)

    Iv loved this poem since I learned ot in Primary School(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Celine (3/6/2018 4:53:00 PM)

    I learned the poem in the '50, s. I loved it then and I still do.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
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  • Ann Columb (2/12/2018 8:01:00 PM)

    Learned this poem in Primary School. Glad to have found it here thank you for sharing.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
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  • Seema JayaramanSeema Jayaraman (11/7/2015 9:50:00 PM)

    The paradise we fail to appreciate..the security of ones on lil house, the pleasure of dusting and cleaning and daily chores at a place called home..only a wanderer and a homeless can appreciate..well knit poem thanks for sharing.(Report)Reply

    10 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Susan WilliamsSusan Williams (11/7/2015 1:26:00 PM)

    A story about a woman's heart regardless if she be Irish, Swedish, Australian, American- most women want to build themselves a nest(Report)Reply

    31 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Ratnakar Mandlik (11/7/2015 1:28:00 AM)

    The plight of an old woman living on a forlorn road and her desire to have her own little house have been marvelously depicted. Enjoyed the poem. Thanks for sharing.10 points.(Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
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  • 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

    17 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • 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

    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.

    15 person liked.
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Read poems about / on: house, fire, wind, rain, dark, night, woman, god, women



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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