Ethna Carbery

Shiela Ní Gara

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SHIELA NÍ GARA, it is lonesome where you bide,
With the plover circling over and the sagans spreading wide,
With an empty sea before you, and behind a wailing world,
Where the sword lieth rusty and the Banner Blue is furled.

Is it a sail ye wait, Shiela? "Yea, from the westering sun."
Shall it bring joy or sorrow? "Oh, joy sadly won."
Shall it bring peace or conflict? "The pibroch in the glen,
And the flash and crash of battle where my banner shines again."

Green spears of Hope rise round you like grass-blades after drouth,
And there blows a red wind from the East, a white wind from the South,
A brown wind from the West, a grádh, a brown wind from the West–
But the black, black wind from Northern hills, how can you love it best?

Said Shiela ní Gara, "'Tis a kind wind and a true,
For it rustled soft through Aileach's halls and stirred the hair of Hugh;
Then blow, wind! and snow, wind! What matters storm to me,
Now I know the fairy sleep must break and let the sleepers free."

But, Shiela ní Gara, why rouse the stony dead,
Since at your call a living host will circle you instead?
Long is our hunger for your voice, the hour is drawing near–
Oh, Dark Rose of our Passion–call, and our hearts shall hear!

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Ethna Carbery