By Barrows Banks


All down the river, the wavelets glide
Where the tall reeds quiver, the herons hide
Above is beaming in skies of June
Like fire-orb seeming, the sun of noon

Half veiled in shadow beneath the tree
Where the fragrant meadow waves in the breeze
Sits a fairer maiden than the roses red
That have nigh o’erladen the boughs o’erhead

The swallows skim o’er the river’s breast
And are lost in the dim of the purple west
From the blue dome clear of the summer sky
Descends the song here of the lark on high

O’er Leix’s hills all mist encrowned
Where a hundred rills gem its storied ground
Comes a Zephyr pure like an Eden breath
That would half allure the flowers from death

And the verdant plains by Saint Brigid trod
As she sang sweet strains in the praise of God
Make a beauteous scene by my ravished eyes.
With their hue of green beneath amber skies

Were l free to roam the wide world around
l would make my home where such scenes abound
Or if life’s rough sea were like Barrow’s tide
How sweet ’twould be on its breast to bide


Written by Laois poet William O’Neill

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