Ruth Duffin: Irish Woman Poet

Ruth Duffin (1877-1968) was born in Belfast, one of six sisters whose father was a stockbroker. She published two volumes of poetry with her sister Celia, The Secret Hill (1913) and Escape (1929), both of which were illustrated by a third sister, Emma. A third book, The Fairy Cup, appeared in 1958. God’s Fool is taken from The Secret Hill.
 

WHEN WE ARE OLD
 
“When we are old,” you said, and plucked a rose
And held it to your lips, “it will be sweet
To walk together in the June-tide heat
Just such another day, when the wind blows
Warm from the south, and buttercups unclose
Their varnished goblets where still pools repeat
The heavy trees with cattle at their feet
Knee-deep in grasses. Will you come ?” ” God knows.”
 
“God knows,” I said. To-day I come again
Along the path that once our footsteps knew;
The sunset reddens all the frozen wold
Where no flower opens, and the winds complain
In naked boughs that once were green and you
Long, long are dead, and I, thank God, am old.

 

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