Behind the Closed Eye

Original Text: 
The Complete Poems of Francis Ledwidge, intro. by Lord Dunsany (London: Herbert Jenkins, 1919): 29-30. British Library 011649.g.88
1I walk the old frequented ways
3I live again the sunny days
4   Ere I the city knew.
5And scenes of old again are born,
6   The woodbine lassoing the thorn,
8   The poppies weep the dew.
9Above me in their hundred schools
10   The magpies bend their young to rules,
11And like an apron full of jewels
12   The dewy cobweb swings.
13And frisking in the stream below
14   The troutlets make the circles flow,
15And the hungry crane doth watch them grow
16   As a smoker does his rings.
17Above me smokes the little town,
18   With its whitewashed walls and roofs of brown
19And its octagon spire toned smoothly down
20   As the holy minds within.
21And wondrous impudently sweet,
22   Half of him passion, half conceit,
25I hear him, and I feel the lure
26   Drawing me back to the homely moor,
27I'll go and close the mountain's door
28   On the city's strife and din.


2] braes: riverside hillside. Back to Line
7] An allusion to Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale":
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn.
Back to Line
23] According to Dunsany, p. 18, Ledwidge heard the blackbird sing "walking at evening through the village of Slane in summer" (18). Back to Line
24] the piper of Hamelin: cf. Robert Browning's poem, "The Pied Piper of Hamelin: a Child's Story." Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2001