Tomás Ó Cárthaigh
The Hungry Grass - Poem by Tomás Ó Cárthaigh
The Hungry Grass
A shiver runs up my spine
As stories I recall
Of people dead in times gone by
I was told of when I was small.
Of famine dead who to the workhouse went
Dropped dead as they our gate did pass
And the ground on which they fell
Became known as the hungry grass.
For should one walk upon it
Even though they did just eat
The hunger gnawing would strike them
Till they were quick upon their feet
And nothing would quench the hunger
So the story’s said
Bar milk and break hand torn
The only sustenance of those now dead.
You could eat meat untill full
At any other time be you would
But this time the hunger only by bread
Hand torn, washed by milk would
Quench the hunger of the dead
Who outside our gate died
Not so terribly long ago
Who to survive tried
But the Lord in mercy took them
Though grain was exported at the time
And people died for want of bread…
Oh the shame for Britain of the crime!
Some people don’t believe the story
When I tell of the Hungry Grass
Should I go there I tell you
On the other side of the road I’ll pass!
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