Padraic Colum

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

The Knitters - Poem by Padraic Colum

IN companies or lone
They bend their heads, their hands
They busy with their gear,
Accomplishing the stitch
That turns the stocking-heel,
Or closes up the toe,
These knitters at their doors.
Their talk 's of nothing else
But what was told before
Sundown and gone sundown,
While goats bleat from the hill,
And men are tramping home,
By knitters at their doors.
And we who go this way
A benediction take
From hands that ply this task
For the ten thousandth time
Of knitters at their doors.
Since we who deem our days
Most varied, come to own
That all the works we do
Repeat a wonted toil:
May it be done as theirs
Who turn the stocking-heel,
And close the stocking-toe,
With grace and in content,
These knitters at their doors.
The Charm
Uisge cloiche gan irraidh

WATER, I did not seek you,
Water of hollow stone;
I crossed no one's acre to find you
You were where my geese lie down.

I dip my fingers and sprinkle,
While three times over I say,
'Chance-bound and chance-found water
Can take a numbness away.'

The numbness that leaves me vacant
Of thought and will and deed
Like the moveless clock that I gaze on-
It will go where the ravens breed.

I empty the stone; on the morrow
I shall rise with spirit alive;
Gallant amongst the gallant,
I shall speak and lead and strive.

In search there is no warrant,
By chance is the charm shown:
Water, I did not seek you,
Water of hollow stone!


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010



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