A Celebration 
of Women Writers

"On Inisheer" 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. 94-95.

Editor: Mary Mark 

[Page 94] 


         On Inisheer, on Inisheer,
         In the Spring-tide of the year,
You sought me, in your eyes love's rapture burning;
         And for the words you said,
         Above my drooping head,
My heart flew to you on the wings of yearning.

         On Inisheer, on Inisheer,
         I had never known a fear,
Nor a sorrow, nor a sigh to mar my laughter;
         Until that saddest day,
         When my true love sailed away,
And the sun grew dim, and darkness followed after.

         Why did you go, oh love,
         Ere the primrose peeped above
The scanty grass bleached with the wind salt-bitter?
         Here, by a cabin fire,
         Each with our heart's desire,
Had not the peace of home for us been fitter?

         Than you to pine afar
         Under the Southern Star,
And I to pine by Keevin's ruined altar,
         Watching the cliffs of Clare
         Fade in the evening air,
Telling my beads for you in tones that falter;

[Page 95] 

         Or by the holy well,
         Where as the darkness fell,
And out of dark the tender dawn came flowing
         In seas of silver light,
         You prayed the livelong night
That Christ would bless and guard you in your going.

         Some day He keeps in store
         You will return, a-stor,
Your curragh down our foaming current speeding
         From the welcome of your clan,
         On the rocks of Inishmaan,
To heal my wound of longing, ever bleeding.

         On Inisheer; on Inisheer,
          Love, I shall wait you here,
My radiant web of dreams through grey hours weaving.
         Until, the red gold won,
         And all your wandering done,
You take me to your heart and end my grieving.


Editor: Mary 
Mark Ockerbloom