An Old Woman of the Roads

An Old Woman of the Roads by Padraic Colum was voted as one of Ireland’s favourite poems by readers of the Irish Times Newspaper in 1999.

Ireland’s 100 favourite poems

It is a sad story about a woman that has no home and no husband, and has to wander the roads day and night.

She hopes and prays that one day she will have a house of her own, and would see out her days happily keeping it clean and a nice place to live.

Old Woman of the Roads by Padraic Colum. Image Copyright - Ireland Calling
Old Woman of the Roads by Padraic Colum. Image copyright Ireland Calling

An Old Woman of the Roads

O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods against the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!

To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!

I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!

I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph!

Och! but I’m weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there’s never a house nor bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!

And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house – a house of my own
Out of the wind’s and the rain’s way.

Old Woman of the Roads by Padraic Colum. Image copyright Ireland Calling
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Ireland's 100 favourite poems

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