Moira O’Neill: Irish Woman Poet

Moira O’Neill  was the pseudonym of Agnes Nesta Shakespeare Higginson (1865-1955), later Skrine and Keane. She was born in Antrim and lived there, in Canada, Kildare and Wexford. She is best known for her Songs of the Glens of Antrim and More Songs of the Glens of Antrim. Sea Wrack is taken from the former and was set to music by Hamilton Harty. She was also the mother of the novelist Molly Keane.

SEA WRACK.

The wrack was dark an’ shiny where it floated in the sea,
There was no one in the brown boat but only him an’ me;
Him to cut the sea wrack, me to mind the boat,
An’ not a word between us the hours we were afloat.
The wet wrack,
The sea wrack,
The wrack was strong to cut.

We laid it on the grey rocks to wither in the sun,
An’ what should call my lad then, to sail from Cushendun?
With a low moon, a full tide, a swell upon the deep,
Him to sail the old boat, me to fall asleep.
The dry wrack,
The sea wrack,
The wrack was dead so soon.

There’ a fire low upon the rocks to burn the wrack to kelp,
There’ a boat gone down upon the Moyle, an’ sorra one to help !
Him beneath the salt sea, me upon the shore,
By sunlight or moonlight we’ll lift the wrack no more.
The dark wrack,
The sea wrack,
The wrack may drift ashore.

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One thought on “Moira O’Neill: Irish Woman Poet

  1. Pingback: Moira O'Neill: Irish Woman Poet | The Irish Lit...

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