Rose Kavanagh: Irish Woman Poet

Rose Kavanagh (1860-91) was born in Tyrone. She was well known for her children’s stories, and was friendly with many of her contemporary women writers, as well as being very close to Charles Kickham. On her death, W.B. Yeats wrote an obituary. Her poems were collected posthumously in Rose Kavanagh and Her Verses (Dublin & Waterford: M. H. Gill & Son 1909) edited by Rev. Matthew Russell.

ST. MICHAN’S CHURCHYARD
 
[Robert Emmet’s Burial place.]
 
Inside the city’s throbbing heart
One spot I know, set well apart
From Life’s hard highway, Life’s loud mart.
 
Each Dublin lane, and street, and square
Around might echo; but in there
The sound stole soft as whispered prayer.
 
A little, lonely, green graveyard,
The old church tower its solemn guard,
The gate with nought but sunbeams barred.
 
While other sunbeams went and came
Above the stone which waits the name,
His land must write with Freedom’s flame.
 
The slender elm above that stone
Its summer wreath of leaves had thrown
Around the heart so quiet grown.
 
A robin, the bare boughs among,
Let loose his little soul in song–
Quick liquid gushes, fresh and strong.
 
And quiet heart, and bird and tree,
Seemed linked in some strange sympathy
Too fine for mortal eye to see,
 
But full of balm and soothing sweet,
For those who sought that calm retreat,
For aching breast and weary feet.
 
Each crowded street and thoroughfare
Was echoing round it–yet in there
The peace of Heaven was everywhere.

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