To My Darling Daughter Betty

To My Darling Daughter Betty by Tom Kettle is a hugely emotional poem written to his family during the first World War.

Ireland’s 100 favourite poems

Kettle knew he would never see his wife and daughter again and wrote this poem to send back to them. Kettle was killed in battle one day after writing the letter.

Thomas Kettle To My Darling Daughter Betty Image copyright Ireland Calling

To My Darling Daughter Betty by Tom Kettle. Image copyright Ireland Calling

To My Darling Daughter Betty

In wiser days, my darling rosebud, blown
To beauty proud as was your Mother’s prime.
In that desired, delayed, incredible time,
You’ll ask why I abandoned you, my own,
And the dear heart that was your baby throne,
To die with death. And oh! they’ll give you rhyme
And reason: some will call the thing sublime,
And some decry it in a knowing tone.

So here, while the mad guns curse overhead,
And tired men sigh with mud for couch and floor,
Know that we fools, now with the foolish dead,
Died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor,
But for a dream, born in a herdsmen shed,
And for the secret Scripture of the poor.

To My Darling Daughter Betty by Tom Kettle. Image copyright Ireland Calling

All poem images – copyright Ireland Calling

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Ireland's 100 favourite poems

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