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Fahy Lough on Omey Island, Connemara, Ireland 

A Drover
by Padraic Colum

 
 TO MEATH of the pastures,
 From wet hills by the sea,
 Through Leitrim and Longford
 Go my cattle and me.
 
 I hear in the darkness 
 Their slipping and breathing.
 I name them the bye-ways
 They’re to pass without heeding.
 
 Then the wet, winding roads,
 Brown bogs with black water; 
 And my thoughts on white ships
 And the King o’ Spain’s daughter.
 
 O! farmer, strong farmer!
 You can spend at the fair
 But your face you must turn 
 To your crops and your care.
 
 And soldiers—red soldiers!
 You’ve seen many lands;
 But you walk two by two,
 And by captain’s commands.      
 
 O! the smell of the beasts,
 The wet wind in the morn;
 And the proud and hard earth
 Never broken for corn;
 
 And the crowds at the fair, 
 The herds loosened and blind,
 Loud words and dark faces
 And the wild blood behind.
 
 (O! strong men with your best
 I would strive breast to breast 
 I could quiet your herds
 With my words, with my words.)
 
 I will bring you, my kine,
 Where there’s grass to the knee;
 But you’ll think of scant croppings 
 Harsh with salt of the sea. 
 

 

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