Lament for Cill Àirne, Poetry by Tom Roche

Genre: Save Nature

(this is a modern-day adaptation by a non-poet of the sixteenth century poem Cill Chais)

Now what will we do for trees, with the last of the oaks laid low? There’s no talk of Cill Airne or its households and it’s cathedral bell will be struck no more.

That dwelling where lived the generous couple most honoured but neglected by State. Overtaken by crippling species its woodlands and visitors will be seen no more. Duck’s voices nor geese do I hear there, nor the Eagle’s cry over the lakes, nor even the bees at their labour bringing honey and wax to us all. No birdsong there, sweet and delightful, as we watch the sun go down, nor cuckoo on top of the branches setting the world to rest.

A stain on the boughs of CillAirne is descending neither daylight nor sun can clear. No hazel nor holly nor berry no dances or bon-fires nor wood for the violin.

I call upon Hazel and Enda to send the army our way: that CillAirne, the townsland of our fathers; will rise handsome on high once more and till doom – or the deluge – returns – we’ll see our woodlands no more laid low.




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