A poet in soul is our Mary Mahone:
She walks with a sweetheart when walking alone.
A rose on her heart and a song on her lips,
Adown a shy path to the ocean she slips.
“A poet I’ll be,” said our Mary Mahone;
“And pour out my soul like the wind making moan.
“Like the wind making moan or the breakers that roll
I’ll pour out the passionate flood of my soul.”
A basket of roses at Ballymore grown
Was never as fair as was Mary Mahone.
“To-morrow,” she cried, “will I rise with the birds
And fashion a lyric from magical words.”
But at peep-o-the-morn came a lad up the hill
To tell her the widow O’Connor was ill.
And waiting no ribbon or bonnet of lace,
For fairer the sun on her hair and her face,
She came to the room where the sick woman lay:
And Death, when he saw her, soon hurried away.
O, woe to the poem of Mary Mahone
But joy to the miserable heart of a crone.
And Mary in April, agowned in a shower,
Danced up the green meadows and left them in flower.
“Ah, April,” she cried, “I have waited thee long:
A poet am I and I’ll sing thee a song.”
A lilt on her lips and a stranger passed by,
A limp in his foot and a tear in his eye.
“O, sir,” says my Mary, “you’re weary, I see.”
“Yea, weary,” he cried, “for the moaning banshee.”
“O, sir,” says my maiden, “come up to the town:
The honey is gold and the biscuits are brown.”
He felt her warm arm and he felt her wet hair,
And Heaven fell down upon Ireland right there.
So well was he nursed by our Mary Mahone
That his heart grew as fresh as the flowers at her zone.
And, late in the summer, he went back to sea
With never a thought of the eerie banshee.
O woe to the poem of Mary Mahone;
But joy unto one of God’s many unknown.
Thus year after year saw the green turn to gold
And still was her song like a story untold.
“O never,” she cried, with a Celtic despair,
“Has God looked with favor upon my one prayer.”
And then on a May day, as fair as a bride,
Our Mary Mahone had a dream that she died.
And straight up to heaven she went, for they say
The Irish go up by no roundabout way.
The air was all music and, over its tone,
She heard good Saint Peter say: “Mary Mahone,
“Pass up with the poets.” But Mary replied:
“O sir, I’m no poet, though often I’ve tried
“To write me a poem; but never could I
While there was a cheek which my fingers might dry.”
But softly Saint Peter said: “High on his throne
God waits for the poet called Mary Mahone.”
The Lord rose to meet her and all the white throng
Sang: “Hail to the poet who wrote the great song.”
And Mary cried: “Lord, I am Mary Mahone,
And so many mortals around me made moan
“That I toiled by the day and I watched by the moon
And never found time to awaken a rune.”
The Lord smiled upon her and all the white throng
Cried: “Hail to the poet who wrote the great song.”
And Mary, bewildered, looked up and implored:
“Pray tell me what song I have written, O Lord?”
“Thy Life is the song,” said the Lord in her dream;
“And Love is the metre and Love is the theme.”
Then Mary awakened and Phoebus rose, too,
And drank to the poet in wine of the dew.
And this is the story of Mary Mahone.
And what if it, too, be a tale like thine own!
And what if the Master hath seen in thine eyes
The script of a poem they love in the skies.
For you, though a song reed you never have blown,
May, too, be a poet like Mary Mahone.
Vancouver, December, 1916