― 95 ―

The Grey Woman

THERE'S a little old woman
In a long grey cloak,
And the cross word, the hard word
Is all she ever spoke.

With the old shawl about her
And a creel upon her hand,
She comes sowin' docks an' darnels
Through the kind green land.

'Twas she that turned the wheat black,
'Twas she that broke the plough;
Twas she that. … Whist, acushla,
'Tis Herself comes now!

For the red cow's ailin',
Sure the wind's from the east,
And God He knows the east wind
Is ill for man an' beast!

And the black rain is beatin'
Like a flail upon the hay,
And the mould is in the barley,
An' the rent's due to-day.

With sorrow and vexation
Our hearts are nearly broke!
Go away, old woman,
In the long grey cloak!

Och, ye thrawn old woman
With the creel upon your hand,
To be sowin' docks an' darnels
Through the good green land!

  ― 96 ―
Sure, fame is only fancy,
An' wealth is far to find,
An' life is like a blown leaf—
A candle in the wind!

A low flame, a long flame,
An' then. … a puff o' smoke.
Och, shame upon ye, woman,
In the long grey cloak!