A Lament - Sligo Poets

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     Sligo Times 8 February 1913
                    A LAMENT

Dear heart, as by the fire alone I sit,
      A prey to thought, emotion and regret,
Before my eyes a thousand mem’ries flit,
      To mind me of the days when first we met.

Then was my life one long ecstatic dream,
      A dream in which were none but you and I,
Then did the world another ? seem,
      Where love did reign supreme and heav’n was nigh.

The years have passed again I hear the song
      Of birds which herald in the coming spring,
But ’tis for you my lonely spirit longs,
      For you and for the songs you used to sing.

What care I for the feathered songsters’ lay
      The sweetest notes make discord in my ear,
I only know that you have gone away,
      And with you taken all that I held dear.


Sligo Times 6 December 1913
           MY FRIEND

I love to sit when all is hushed
    And gaze in fancy free
Into the fire, whose ruddy glow
    Seems in its kindly warmth to show
A friendship real for me.

And thus I gaze, and gazing, dream
    Until I wince with cold,
My pal the fire is burning low
    And flickers where it was a-glow-
A friendship, growing old.

I stir the burning embers left;
    This friendship must not wane.
I bring fresh coal and quickly raise
    A cheerful, compensating blaze-
And I am warm again.

And so, with men, it seems to me
    A friendship has but name,
Unless the fuel be freely brought-
    The coals of deed and kindly thought-
To stimulate its flame.


A Lament is a simple standard lament by an anonymous poet, presumably though not necessarily, from Sligo. The lament could be for a dead person but sounds more likely to be for a departed lover.

It follows a standard formula, the poet sits and remembers happier times when the beloved was present. Then, everything seemed perfect but now that the beloved has departed everything has changed. The sweet birdsong of spring brings sadness instead of joy.

The poet has taken care to ensure the rhythm works well, using "mind" instead of remind for instance. The rhyming scheme, abab in each stanza, is well done though the rhymes are simple and unadventurous.

"Dear heart" is a phrase often used in poetry. James Joyce has a poem by that title in Chamber Music (1907) and Thomas Wyatt uses the phrase in They Flee From Me.

The other poems here were printed without authors' names or pen names. This suggests they are not local compositions. An internet search failed to find other occurences of these so it is possible that there are by locals.

Both are well-written, have competent rhyming schemes and fit in well with the other inspirational poems which occur so often in the Sligo Times.

      Sligo Times 2 August 1913

First Picture

A grey-haired woman with vacant eyes
       And features pale and thin–
A shrunken form that breathes in sighs
       A heart of lead within,
Sits all alone with a crust of bread,
       In a corner where none can see,
And murmurs in tones from which hope has fled
       "He’s not what he used to be"

Second Picture

There’s a grey hair here and a grey hair there;
       There’s a line or two on her face;
But her eye is bright and her cheek is fair,
       And her walk has a youthful grace.
The music of life is a long sweet chord,
       Her smile is a pleasure to see,
As she whispers low "I thank Thee Lord,
       He’s all I could wish him to be."

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