Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
52. The Awakening of Dermuid
By Austin Clarke (From “The Vengeance of Finn.”)
IN the sleepy forest where the bluebells
Smouldered dimly through the night,
Dermuid saw the leaves like glad green waters
At daybreak flowing into light,
And exultant from his love upspringing        5
Strode with the sun upon the height.
Glittering on the hilltops
He saw the sunlit rain
Drift as around the spindle
A silver-threaded skein,        10
And the brown mist whitely breaking
Where arrowy torrents reached the plain.
A maddened moon
Leapt in his heart and whirled the crimson tide
Of his blood until it sang aloud of battle        15
Where the querns of dark death grind,
Till it sang and scorned in pride
Love—the froth-pale blossom of the boglands
That flutters on the waves of the wandering wind.
Flower-quiet in the rush-strewn sheiling        20
At the dawntime Grainne lay,
While beneath the birch-topped roof the sunlight
Groped upon its way
And stooped above her sleeping white body
With a wasp-yellow ray.        25
The hot breath of the day awoke her,
And wearied of its heat
She wandered out by the noisy elms
On the cool mossy peat,
Where the shadowed leaves like pecking linnets        30
Nodded around her feet.
She leaned and saw in the pale-grey waters,
By twisted hazel boughs,
Her lips like heavy drooping poppies
In a rich redness drowse,        35
Then swallow—lightly touched the ripples
Until her wet lips were
Burning as ripened rowan berries
Through the white winter air.
Lazily she lingered        40
  Gazing so,
As the slender osiers
Where the waters flow,
As green twings of sally
Swaying to and fro.        45
Sleepy moths fluttered
In her dark eyes,
And her lips grew quieter
Than lullabies.
Swaying with the reedgrass        50
Over the stream
Lazily she lingered
Cradling a dream.


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