Ellen Beck: Irish Woman Poet

Ellen Beck (1858-1924) was born and lived her life in The Rock, Tyrone, where she served as a school teacher. She published poems and prose sketches under the name Magdalen Rock in The Irish Monthly and in anthologies of religious verse.

7TH OCTOBER, 1571.

A thickening cloud of smoke the sun looked through,
And frenzied cries were heard and moan and prayer;
And standards old and royal ensigns flew
From all the lands of Southern Europe there;
Fluttering they flew, fanned by the noon-day breeze,
From galleys tall and stately argosies.
But though proud Austria’s flag, blue as the sky,
Waved with the flags of Venice and of Spain,
Triumphantly the Crescent floated high,
And Christian blood was poured, and poured in vain
Upon Lepanto’s waters ; ’till at last
Colonna cried, ‘The foes are gaining fast.’
But at that hour, the holy Pontiff prayed
In distant Rome beside our Lady’s shrine,
And begged the Queen of Heaven’s potent aid
For those who bravely fought beneath the Sign
Of man’s redemption ‘gainst the Infidel,
To save the Church her dear Son loved so well.
And lo, the Christian ranks fresh courage found
E’en as the holy Pontiff’s prayer arose,
And brave Colonna’s hopes with sudden bound
Revived again, and man to man the foes
Tought till the Crescent fell. Since that blest day
To her, the Help of Christians, oft we pray.

Review of Denise Riley in Eborakon

Eborakon is a poetry magazine based at the University of York and the latest issue, Vol 1, eboIssue 3, is just out, featuring, among many good things, my review of Say Something Back, by Denise Riley. Here’s a brief sample, you’ll need to buy the mag to read more:

Throughout the collection, the formal restraints of song, with or without rhyme, provide a sense of emotional restraint, a pattern of emotion expressed, and then drawn back, an exploration of the language to enact this pattern in, that is deeply moving.

Mary Jane Adams: Irish Woman Poet

mary_mathews_adamsMary Jane Adams (1840–1902) was born in Ireland and moved to America with her family when she was still a child. Her maiden name may have been Matthews, but she published all her work under her married name from her second marriage.

ALL womanhood expressed in one great soul,

Her love, her hope, her trust, and her desire,

A single instance of a mighty whole,

Revealed in characters of living fire.

Shall it be said the whole is incomplete.

The woman’s only — not the master’s power?

 Nay, owning both, she does forever speak

As with freshness of her June-time flower.