Margaret Mary Ryan: Irish Woman Poet

Margaret Mary Ryan (1855 – 1915) was born in Tipperary. She was a regular contributor to the Irish Monthly from 1874 to 1904. ‘Changes’ is taken from her only collection,  Songs of Remembrance, which was published by Gill in 1899.


Summer has bloom, and Autumn fruit, and Spring 
Fresh, fragrant buds, wild winds, and spangling frost, 
Soft, woolly nests in rocking elm boughs tossed. 
Or 'mid gold furze where stays the linnet's wing 
Through violet eves — a poet born to sing ; 
Meanwhile his mate sleeps on secure ; no cost 
He counts for her— no time, no labour lost : 

Spring, so generous, so unreckoning ! 
Summer has bloom, and Autumn fruit, and skies, 
Tear-dried by fragrant airs and hot noons' breath — 
But careless hang the nests, the birds far flown, 
And leaf and grass bear sign of coming death. 
Oh, for a Spring that changes not nor dies ! 
Oh, for a day like days that I have known ! 

So April left me laughing 'neath the moon, 
And turned her young face backwards sweet and dear. 
So May slipped by, and June rose-crowned was here : 
I could not weep for Spring — who weeps in June ? 
I was not tired as yet— who tires at noon ? 
My buds were blown, my wheat was in the ear, 
My linnets sang — I dreamed not Death was near, 
That Hope should die, that Joy should die so soon. 

O friends, be patient if I weep to-day — 
To-day, to-morrow, and for evermore — 
Forsake me not, stay by my lonely door. 
And sometimes lift the latch if you but say : 
She weeps such tears as broken hearts have shed — 
She weeps so long, 'twere better she were dead ! 


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