The Bog Lands
By William A. Byrne
THE purple heather is the cloak
God gave the bogland brown,
But man has made a pall o’ smoke
To hide the distant town.
Our lights are long and rich in change,
Unscreened by hill or spire,
From primrose dawn, a lovely range,
To sunset’s farewell fire.
No morning bells have we to wake
Us with their monotone,
But windy calls of quail and crake
Unto our beds are blown.
The lark’s wild flourish summons us
To work before the sun;
At eve the heart’s lone Angelus
Blesses our labour done.
We cleave the sodden, shelving bank
In sunshine and in rain,
That men by winter-fires may thank
The wielders of the slane.
Our lot is laid beyond the crime
That sullies idle hands;
So hear we through the silent time
God speaking sweet commands.
Brave joys we have and calm delight—
For which tired wealth may sigh—
The freedom of the fields of light,
The gladness of the sky.
And we have music, oh, so quaint!
The curlew and the plover,
To tease the mind with pipings faint
No memory can recover;
The reeds that pine about the pools
In wind and windless weather;
The bees that have no singing-rules
Except to buzz together.
And prayer is here to give us sight
To see the purest ends;
Each evening through the brown-turf light
The Rosary ascends.
And all night long the cricket sings
The drowsy minutes fall,—
The only pendulum that swings
Across the crannied wall.
Then we have rest, so sweet, so good,
The quiet rest you crave;
The long, deep bogland solitude
That fits a forest’s grave;
The long, strange stillness, wide and deep,
Beneath God’s loving hand,
Where, wondering at the grace of sleep,
The Guardian Angels stand.