I Am Stretched on Your Grave

St. Patrick’s Day 2020

Times Square stands empty and the pubs keep the quiet. This is a poem from 17th century Ireland, translated here by Frank O’Connor. Seems apropos today:

I am stretched on your grave
And I’ll lie here forever.
If your hands were in mine,
I’d be sure they would not sever.
My apple tree, my brightness,
It’s time we were together
For I smell of the earth
and I’m worn by the weather
.

When my family thinks
That I’m safe in my bed,
From night until morning
I am stretched at your head,
Calling out unto the darkness
With tears hot and wild,
My love for the girl
That I knew as a child.

Do you remember the night?
O the night when were lost
In the shade of the black thorn
and the touch of the frost.
Thanks be to Jesus,
We did all that was right
And the moon in the sky
Was our pillar of light.

The priest and the friars,
They approach me in dread,
For I love you still.
All your life and your death
And still would be your shelter,
Through rain and through storm,
But with you in your cold grave
I cannot sleep warm

So I am stretched here on your grave
And I’ll lie here forever.
If your hands were in mine,
I am sure they would not sever.
My apple tree, my brightness,
It’s time we were together,
For I smell of the earth
and I’m worn by the weather

#stpatricksday #poetry #stretchedonyourgrave #coronavirus

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