Their hearts are wild
As be the hearts of birds, till children come.
She would not mind the griddle, milk the cow,
Or even lay the knives and spread the cloth.
I never saw her read a book before:
What may it be?
I do not rightly know:
It has been in the thatch for fifty years.
My father told me my grandfather wrote it,
Killed a red heifer and bound it with the hide.
But draw your chair this way—supper is spread;
And little good he got out of the book,
Because it filled his house with roaming bards,
And roaming ballad-makers and the like,
And wasted all his goods.—Here is the wine;
The griddle bread’s beside you, Father Hart.
Colleen, what have you got there in the book
That you must leave the bread to cool? Had I,
Or had my father, read or written books
There were no stockings full of silver and gold
To come, when I am dead, to Shawn and you.
You should not fill your head with foolish dreams.
What are you reading?
How a Princess Edene,
A daughter of a King of Ireland, heard
A voice singing on a May eve like this,
And followed, half awake and half asleep,
Until she came into the land of faery,
Where nobody gets old and godly and grave,
Where nobody gets old and crafty and wise,
Where nobody gets old and bitter of tongue;
And she is still there, busied with a dance.
Deep in the dewy shadow of a wood,
Or where stars walk upon a mountain top.
Persuade the colleen to put by the book:
My grandfather would mutter just such things,
And he was no judge of a dog or horse,
And any idle boy could blarney him.
Just speak your mind.
Put it away, my colleen.
God spreads the heavens above us like great wings,
And gives a little round of deeds and days,
And then come the wrecked angels and set snares,
And bait them with light hopes and heavy dreams,
Until the heart is puffed with pride and goes,
Half shuddering and half joyous, from God’s peace;
And it was some wrecked angel, blind tears,
Who flattered Edene’s heart with merry words.
My colleen, I have seen some other girls
Restless and ill at ease, but years went by
And they grew like their neighbours and were glad
In minding children, working at the churn,
And gossiping of weddings and of wakes;
For life moves out of a red flare of dreams
Into a common light of common hours,
Until old age bring the red flare again.
Yet do not blame her greatly, Father Hart, For she is dull while I am in the fields, And mother’s tongue were harder still to bear, But for her fancies: this is May Eve too, When the good people post about the world, And surely one may think of them to-night. Maire, have you the primroses to fling Before the door to make a golden path For them to bring good luck into the house. Remember, they may steal new-married brides Upon May Eve.