Mary Maguire Colum: Irish Woman Poet

Mary Maguire (1887 – 1957) was born in Fermanagh, attended boarding school in Monaghan, secondary school in the Germany and studied at the National University in Dublin. She is best-known as a critic, but Dirge of the Lone Woman was included in Anthology of Irish Verse, edited by here husband Padraic Colum in 1948 and was reprinted as a broadside by the Dolmon Press the year after her death.

Dirge of the Lone Woman

AS WE entered by that door
We saw the lights a-flame —
A-flame on your bier,
On the bier of you
Who had loved many a one,
Loved many a one!

Then I said to your love,
To her, your latest love,
‘There’s his last room,
His final roof-tree
Who has lived in many a one,
In many a one.

‘A tree never more
Grows to shield him
From the bitter cold and rain,
From the blighting light of love
Which ends many a one —
Ends many a one.

‘There’s his last tree;
You’re his last love:
The new bud in bloom,
The new fruit of the flower
He’ll give to no other one,
To no other one!’

Then they raised up your bier,
They quenched the laggard flame,
And they walked and they walked,
They walked you to the grave,
Where ends many a one —
Ends many a one.

We watched the mould fall
On your last roof-tree;
Then she went on her way
With a rose in her hair,
And I alone with no other one —
With no other one!


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