Margaret Corrigan: Irish Woman Poet

I have been unable to discover anything about Margaret Corrigan apart from a single poem that was first published in the August 1941 issue of The Bell and then reprinted in an anthology of poems from that magazine, Irish Poems of Today, edited by Geoffrey Taylor, which was published by the Irish People’s Press in 1944.

A Farmer in Hospital

Between white sheets he lies, a withered leaf.
Between white pages of compressing book.
He, who, at morn, had walked mist-silvered hills,
And felt the soft white dewy wool of sheep,
And shook them free from flesh-consuming pests,
Receiving thankfulness from their mild eyes.
Now, nevermore, his heavy boots shall sink
Into the deep brown earth when he, earth’s midwife,
Opens earth’s pregnant womb for fruitfulness.
No more on frosty nights with yellow lamp
Swinging from cold red hands
He’ll see the warm white breath of sleeping cows
Take ghostly shape among the byre shadows;
He striding on from cow to cow in dread
Lest pain of calfbirth pierce them unawares.
Lamp lighting glosses on their broad smooth backs.
Nor shall he hear again resounding sound
Of horn and bay of hounds when he, as he
Swings to the motion of the swinging horse,
Blood-lust aflame, all thoughts on one thought bent,
Chases the gaunt red terror-stricken fox.
No more, at dawn, alone in wakefulness,
Striding the fields in quest of lambing sheep,
He’ll see the gold brooms of the rising sun
Sweeping the hilltops clear of the nightly dew.
And feel dark surges of unbidden joy
Pour round his heart an ecstasy of pain.
These things are passed. In narrow bed he lies,
Watching through glass a small square patch of blue,
A flick of cloud, pale smoke, and many roofs:
Seeing at times one breathless snatch of green
Beating a moment at his window pane —
The waving of a solitary branch
Uplifted from a solitary tree:
Then turns away his head and feels the ache
Of things remembered, and cold pain of loss,
And pants to know again the cool damp earth,
And seeks a long reunion in the grave.

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