Poem – The Ballade of Butterflies

Because we never build a nest

And no one of us ever sings,

We are the butt of every jest

That strutting loud-mouthed robin flings.

Unless the field with laughter rings

And we are meek in our replies

His claws and beak to bear he brings;

Have pity on all butterflies!
Since we are of no home possessed,

And have no joy in courts and kings,

And love on working-days to rest,

The name of ‘Idlers’ to us clings.

On all our gypsy travellings

They follow us with jeering cries.

From every rose a spider springs;

Have pity on all butterflies!
A little thing is our request- 

Some peace from nets of sticks and strings,

An hour to feel the sunlight’s zest,

To ‘scape the deadly bee that stings.

From hostile fortune’s bolts and slings

Give us release ere Summer dies- 

We dread the Winter’s threatenings;

Have pity on all butterflies!

L’ENVOI

Great Pan, kind lord of living things,

Look on us now with friendly eyes.

We pray to you on trembling wings,

Have pity on all butterflies! 

Poem – The Apartment House

Severe against the pleasant arc of sky

The great stone box is cruelly displayed.

The street becomes more dreary from its shade,

And vagrant breezes touch its walls and die.

Here sullen convicts in their chains might lie,

Or slaves toil dumbly at some dreary trade.

How worse than folly is their labor made

Who cleft the rocks that this might rise on high! 
Yet, as I look, I see a woman’s face

Gleam from a window far above the street.

This is a house of homes, a sacred place,

By human passion made divinely sweet.

How all the building thrills with sudden grace

Beneath the magic of Love’s golden feet! 

Poem – Thanksgiving 

The roar of the world is in my ears.

Thank God for the roar of the world!

Thank God for the mighty tide of fears

Against me always hurled!

Thank God for the bitter and ceaseless strife,

And the sting of His chastening rod!

Thank God for the stress and the pain of life,

And Oh, thank God for God! 

Poem – Stars

(For the Rev. James J. Daly, S. J.) 
Bright stars, yellow stars, flashing through the air,

Are you errant strands of Lady Mary’s hair?

As she slits the cloudy veil and bends down through,

Do you fall across her cheeks and over heaven too? 
Gay stars, little stars, you are little eyes,

Eyes of baby angels playing in the skies.

Now and then a winged child turns his merry face

Down toward the spinning world — what a funny place! 
Jesus Christ came from the Cross (Christ receive my soul!)

In each perfect hand and foot there was a bloody hole.

Four great iron spikes there were, red and never dry,

Michael plucked them from the Cross and set them in the sky. 
Christ’s Troop, Mary’s Guard, God’s own men,

Draw your swords and strike at Hell and strike again.

Every steel-born spark that flies where God’s battles are,

Flashes past the face of God, and is a star. 

Poem – St. Laurence 

Within the broken Vatican

The murdered Pope is lying dead.

The soldiers of Valerian

Their evil hands are wet and red. 
Unarmed, unmoved, St. Laurence waits,

His cassock is his only mail.

The troops of Hell have burst the gates,

But Christ is Lord, He shall prevail. 
They have encompassed him with steel,

They spit upon his gentle face,

He smiles and bleeds, nor will reveal

The Church’s hidden treasure-place. 
Ah, faithful steward, worthy knight,

Well hast thou done. Behold thy fee!

Since thou hast fought the goodly fight

A martyr’s death is fixed for thee. 
St. Laurence, pray for us to bear

The faith which glorifies thy name.

St. Laurence, pray for us to share

The wounds of Love’s consuming flame. 

Poem – Rouge Bouquet

In a wood they call the Rouge Bouquet 

There is a new-made grave to-day, 

Built by never a spade nor pick 

Yet covered with earth ten metres thick. 

There lie many fighting men, 

   Dead in their youthful prime, 

Never to laugh nor love again 

   Nor taste the Summertime. 

For Death came flying through the air 

And stopped his flight at the dugout stair, 

Touched his prey and left them there, 

   Clay to clay. 

He hid their bodies stealthily 

In the soil of the land they fought to free 

   And fled away. 

Now over the grave abrupt and clear 

   Three volleys ring; 

And perhaps their brave young spirits hear 

   The bugle sing: 

“Go to sleep! 

Go to sleep! 

Slumber well where the shell screamed and fell. 

Let your rifles rest on the muddy floor, 

You will not need them any more. 

Danger’s past; 

Now at last, 

Go to sleep!” 
There is on earth no worthier grave 

To hold the bodies of the brave 

Than this place of pain and pride 

Where they nobly fought and nobly died. 

Never fear but in the skies 

Saints and angels stand 

Smiling with their holy eyes 

On this new-come band. 

St. Michael’s sword darts through the air 

And touches the aureole on his hair 

As he sees them stand saluting there, 

   His stalwart sons; 

And Patrick, Brigid, Columkill 

Rejoice that in veins of warriors still 

   The Gael’s blood runs. 

And up to Heaven’s doorway floats, 

   From the wood called Rouge Bouquet, 

A delicate cloud of buglenotes 

   That softly say: 

“Farewell! 

Farewell! 

Comrades true, born anew, peace to you! 

Your souls shall be where the heroes are 

And your memory shine like the morning-star. 

Brave and dear, 

Shield us here. 

Farewell!” 

Poem – Roses

I went to gather roses and twine them in a ring,

For I would make a posy, a posy for the King.

I got an hundred roses, the loveliest there be,

From the white rose vine and the pink rose bush and from the red 

rose tree.

But when I took my posy and laid it at His feet

I found He had His roses a million times more sweet.

There was a scarlet blossom upon each foot and hand,

And a great pink rose bloomed from His side for the healing of the 

land.

Now of this fair and awful King there is this marvel told,

That He wears a crown of linked thorns instead of one of gold.

Where there are thorns are roses, and I saw a line of red,

A little wreath of roses around His radiant head.

A red rose is His Sacred Heart, a white rose is His face,

And His breath has turned the barren world to a rich and flowery 

place.

He is the Rose of Sharon, His gardener am I,

And I shall drink His fragrance in Heaven when I die. 

Poem – Citizen Of The World – joyce Kilmer

No longer of Him be it said 

“He hath no place to lay His head.” 
In every land a constant lamp 

Flames by His small and mighty camp. 
There is no strange and distant place 

That is not gladdened by His face. 
And every nation kneels to hail 

The Splendour shining through Its veil. 
Cloistered beside the shouting street, 

Silent, He calls me to His feet. 
Imprisoned for His love of me 

He makes my spirit greatly free. 
And through my lips that uttered sin 

The King of Glory enters in.

Poem – Love’s Lantern – Joyce kilmer

(For Aline) 
Because the road was steep and long 

And through a dark and lonely land, 

God set upon my lips a song 

And put a lantern in my hand. 
Through miles on weary miles of night 

That stretch relentless in my way 

My lantern burns serene and white, 

An unexhausted cup of day. 
O golden lights and lights like wine, 

How dim your boasted splendors are. 

Behold this little lamp of mine; 

It is more starlike than a star!

Poem – Easter Week – Joyce Kilmer

1 “Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone, 

2 It’s with O’Leary in the grave.” 

3 Then, Yeats, what gave that Easter dawn 

4 A hue so radiantly brave? 
5 There was a rain of blood that day, 

6 Red rain in gay blue April weather. 

7 It blessed the earth till it gave birth 

8 To valour thick as blooms of heather. 
9 Romantic Ireland never dies! 

10 O’Leary lies in fertile ground, 

11 And songs and spears throughout the years 

12 Rise up where patriot graves are found. 
13 Immortal patriots newly dead 

14 And ye that bled in bygone years, 

15 What banners rise before your eyes? 

16 What is the tune that greets your ears? 
17 The young Republic’s banners smile 

18 For many a mile where troops convene. 

19 O’Connell street is loudly sweet 

20 With strains of Wearing of the Green. 
21 The soil of Ireland throbs and glows 

22 With life that knows the hour is here 

23 To strike again like Irishmen 

24 For that which Irishmen hold dear. 
25 Lord Edward leaves his resting place 

26 And Sarsfield’s face is glad and fierce. 

27 See Emmet leap from troubled sleep 

28 To grasp the hand of Padraic Pearse! 
29 There is no rope can strangle song 

30 And not for long death takes his toll. 

31 No prison bars can dim the stars 

32 Nor quicklime eat the living soul. 
33 Romantic Ireland is not old. 

34 For years untold her youth shall shine. 

35 Her heart is fed on Heavenly bread, 

36 The blood of martyrs is her wine.

Poem – A Blue Valentine – Joyce Kilmer

(For Aline) 
Monsignore, 

Right Reverend Bishop Valentinus, 

Sometime of Interamna, which is called Ferni, 

Now of the delightful Court of Heaven, 

I respectfully salute you, 

I genuflect 

And I kiss your episcopal ring. 
It is not, Monsignore, 

The fragrant memory of your holy life, 

Nor that of your shining and joyous martyrdom, 

Which causes me now to address you. 

But since this is your august festival, Monsignore, 

It seems appropriate to me to state 

According to a venerable and agreeable custom, 

That I love a beautiful lady. 

Her eyes, Monsignore, 

Are so blue that they put lovely little blue reflections 

On everything that she looks at, 

Such as a wall 

Or the moon 

Or my heart. 

It is like the light coming through blue stained glass, 

Yet not quite like it, 

For the blueness is not transparent, 

Only translucent. 

Her soul’s light shines through, 

But her soul cannot be seen. 

It is something elusive, whimsical, tender, wanton, infantile, wise 

And noble. 

She wears, Monsignore, a blue garment, 

Made in the manner of the Japanese. 

It is very blue — 

I think that her eyes have made it more blue, 

Sweetly staining it 

As the pressure of her body has graciously given it form. 

Loving her, Monsignore, 

I love all her attributes; 

But I believe 

That even if I did not love her 

I would love the blueness of her eyes, 

And her blue garment, made in the manner of the Japanese. 
Monsignore, 

I have never before troubled you with a request. 

The saints whose ears I chiefly worry with my pleas 

are the most exquisite and maternal Brigid, 

Gallant Saint Stephen, who puts fire in my blood, 

And your brother bishop, my patron, 

The generous and jovial Saint Nicholas of Bari. 

But, of your courtesy, Monsignore, 

Do me this favour: 

When you this morning make your way 

To the Ivory Throne that bursts into bloom with roses 

because of her who sits upon it, 

When you come to pay your devoir to Our Lady, 

I beg you, say to her: 

“Madame, a poor poet, one of your singing servants yet on earth, 

Has asked me to say that at this moment he is especially grateful to you 

For wearing a blue gown.”