Roisin Dubh - Sligo Poets

Go to content

Main menu:

1912 > Sligo Poetry 1912 > Sligo Champion

Sligo Champion. January 20, 1912


Rain, relentless, drenching,
And my heart throbbing out its great unrest,
The fire in my brain unquenching
Burns like the fire of the unblest.
Ghosts of the dead past,
Come memories hurrying fast
Of joy that comes no more,
Of the happiness of love.
True, I thought, as God above,
That made my life a heaven on earth before.

Rain, destroying, washing
The colour from each fragrant, fragile flower;
Rain, against the window lashing,
This is no pretty Summer shower.
But nothing matters now,
Nor rain, nor hail, nor snow,
I, too, am fading with the constant rain of tears
And my heart, though rent in twain,
Keeps throbbing out its pain,
For me no comfort comes as pass the years.

Rain—my pain renewing,
’Twas in rain that first we met,
And memory pursuing,
Ah, God! could I forget!
The long years stretch before
Loveless, Oh! I implore,
Lord let my memory go,
The past but mocks me now,
And yet—I know not how—
I want it even so.

Rain, and the grey mist rising
And shrouding all the blue of heaven’s home,
Rain—man’s work despising,
Mocks me, here alone.
Yet love makes up life’s day
And chaseth night away,
And though it brought me pain,
Though lone I droop and pine,
I’m glad that it was mine,
Glad—though ’tis gone again


Sligo Champion 21 December 1912


He came to school on an autumn day,
  With his sunny curls and merry smiles,
And he taxed my patience in every way,
  Yet won my heart with his childish wiles:
       Vexing, teasing—at every trick,
       Yet a coaxing, pleasing, lovable Mick.

Through the livelong day his wee feet ran
  Across the floor—now here, now there;
And from every corner his laughter rang
  Till I thought of my discipline in despair.
       Vexing, teasing—at every trick,
       Yet a coaxing, pleasing, lovable Mick.

When my teacher’s soul could bear no more,
  I’d put him sitting on my own chair,
Till a plaintive voice I’d hear implore:
  ‘Miss, Miss, Miss, may I tum down dere?’
       Vexing, teasing—at every trick,
       Yet a coaxing, pleasing, lovable Mick.

He’d never known a mother’s love,
  This tiny mite of summer’s three,
But surely his mother watched above
  If souls in Heaven their loved can see
       Vexing, teasing—at every trick,
       Coaxing, pleasing, lovable Mick.

I often think of the weary road
  Those little feet may travel yet,
Of the pitfalls that be—of sorrows load
  Of the myriad worries that manhood fret.
       Vexing, teasing—at every trick,
       Coaxing, pleasing, lovable Mick.

And I think of the sights those innocent eyes
  May have to see on the road of life
’Ere the sun shall set for them ne’er to rise
  On the world’s sadness, pain and strife.
       God’s angels keep you from harm, a mhic,
       Coaxing, pleasing, lovable Mick.

                                        Róisín Dubh

These two poems, written by the same person, are unusual in their directness and freshness. Rain, a lament for love lost which uses the pathetic fallacy of the relentless rain, is striking in its skill and power.

The uneven rhythm adds to the feeling of near despair and masks the carefully constructed rhyme scheme - ababccdeed. There is one slant rhyme in stanza two, now/snow.

There is an Edward Thomas poem, Rain, but it was written later, early in 1916.

The second poem, Mick, is likewise carefully constructed with a strong rhythm and pronounced end-rhymes. The refrain has some minor changes to suit the changing mood. This poem is in a tradition of reflections on happy carefree youths whose futures are uncertain. Another slant rhyme occurs in this poem, ran/rang in the second stanza.

It is noteworthy that in the first poem, published in January, the author's name was rendered in English script but in December it was printed in Gaelic font as was the a mhic in the penultimate line.

There are no hints as to the poet's gender in Rain but the Mick poem would suggest that Róisín Dubh was a female primary teacher which might be reinforced by her use of Róisín Dubh as a pseudonym.

We do have to be careful in these poems and others like them, however, to allow the poet the skill to create the "I" as a character. We presume that the poet in Rain is not writing from immediate personal experience and this may also be the case in Mick.

Back to content | Back to main menu