Lament for Thomas McDonagh

Francis Ledwidge was an Irish war poet from Co Meath, and was sometimes known as the ‘poet of the blackbirds’.

Ireland’s 100 favourite poems

Lament for Thomas McDonagh is an emotional poem written by Francis Ledwidge about his fellow poet and friend.
Lament for Thomas McDonagh by Francis Ledwidge

Ledwidge fought for Britain in the First World War and was wounded in 1916. He was recuperating in hospital when he heard news of the Easter Rising and the executions of the leaders. He felt betrayed when his friend Thomas McDonagh was executed for his part in the Easter Rising.

Saddened by these tragic events, he wrote this poem about his close friend, Thomas McDonagh, the executed nationalist leader.
Lament for Thomas McDonagh by Francis Ledwidge. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Lament for Thomas McDonagh

He shall not hear the bittern cry
In the wild sky where he is lain
Nor voices of the sweeter birds
Above the wailing of the rain.

Nor shall he know when loud March blows
Thro’ slanting snows her fanfare shrill
Blowing to flame the golden cup
Of many an upset daffodil.

And when the dark cow leaves the moor
And pastures poor with greedy weeds
Perhaps he’ll hear her low at morn
Lifting her horn in pleasant meads.

Lament for Thomas McDonagh by Francis Ledwidge. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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