Prayer for Maureen

Maureen Shea by John Gibbons. John was from Hazel Rock he emigrated to NYC
where he joined the Police Force. After he retired he began writing poetry.

The poem was published in the New York Times.

When Maureen died, the banshee cried

A dirge of sorrow at the dawn

And many a fervent prayer was said

and many a tear of grief was shed

That summer Morn' in Gorthbawn.

A  hundred years and five she lived

Yet, not one angry bitter word

Through all the changeful years and long

The years of trial and of wrong

From Maureens lips were ever heard

She was the last, last living link

That bound us with long ago

She saw the red-coats in retreat

Before the Frenchmen down the street

When Humbert landed in Mayo.

She was a little girsha then

A Frenchman who was passing there

A tricolor ribbon to her gave

And many a time in after years

SHe wore the ribbon in her hair

The tears would often fill her eyes

When speaking of famine years

The hunger-victims' pleas and moans,

There agonised and dying groans

Were ever ringing in her ears

The mothers and their starving babes

With none to still their dying cries

The sires and sons like spectres dread

Upon the roadside starved or dead

Were ever there before her eyes

She never spoke or tried to speak

In English speech to old or young

"The blight fell first" she used to say

The famine came upon the day

The children lisped the strangers tongue

Her prayers went straightway from her heart

With many a tear and many a sigh

A gushing streamlet rich and pure

For all God's creatures, rich and poor

And reached the throne of God on High

When Maureen died the banshee cried

Before the lake a dirge of woe

The bond that linked us with the past

Was broken, sundered at the last

The hour when Maureen was laid low

She rests beneath the abbey shade

May heaven reward you Maureen Shea

And in the awful hour of need

May your bright soul in Heaven plead

For those who walk the land today

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