A Celebration 
of Women Writers

"Mea Culpa" by Ethna Carbery [aka Mrs. Seumus MacManus, Anna Johnston] (1866-1902)
From: The Four Winds of Eirinn: Poems by Ethna Carbery. (Anna MacManus.), Complete Edition, Edited by Seumas MacManus. Dublin, Ireland: M. H. Gill and Son, Ltd. 1906. pp. 134-135.

Editor: Mary Mark 

[Page 134] 


Be pitiful, my God!
  No hard-won gifts I bring–
But empty, pleading hands
  To Thee at evening.

Spring came, white-browed and young,
  I, too, was young with Spring.
There was a blue, blue heaven
  Above a skylark's wing.

Youth is the time for joy,
  I cried, it is not meet
To mount the heights of toil
  With child-soft feet.

When Summer walked the land
  In Passion's red arrayed,
Under green sweeping boughs
  My couch I made.

The noon-tide heat was sore,
  I slept the Summer through;
An angel waked me–"Thou
  Hast work to do."

I rose and saw the sheaves
  Upstanding in a row;
The reapers sang Thy praise
  While passing to and fro.

[Page 135] 

My hands were soft with ease,
  Long were the Autumn hours;
I left the ripened sheaves
  For poppy-flowers.

But lo! now Winter glooms,
  And gray is in my hair,
Whither has flown the world
  I found so fair?

My patient God, forgive!
  Praying Thy pardon sweet
I lay a lonely heart
  Before Thy feet.


Editor: Mary 
Mark Ockerbloom