The pale discrowned stacks of maize,
Like spectres in the sun,
Stand shivering nigh Avonaise,
Where all is dead and gone.
The sere leaves make a music vain,
With melancholy chords;
Like cries from some old battle-plain,
Like clash of phantom swords.
But when the maize was lush and green
With musical green waves,
She went, its plumed ranks between,
Unto the hill of graves.
There you may see sweet flowers set
O’er damsels and o’er dames —
Rose, Ellen, Mary, Margaret —
The sweet old quiet names.
The gravestones show in long array,
Though white or green with moss,
How linked in Life and Death are they —
The Shamrock and the Cross.
The gravestones face the Golden East,
And in the morn they take
The blessing of the Great High Priest,
Before the living wake.
Who was she? Never ask her name,
Her beauty and her grace
Have passed, with her poor little shame,
Into the Silent Place.
In Avonaise, in Avonaise,
Where all is dead and done,
The folk who rest there all their days
Care not for moon or sun.
They care not, when the living pass,
Whether they sigh or smile;
They hear above their graves the grass
That sighs — “A little while!”
A white stone marks her small green bed
With “Anna” and “Adieu”.
Madonna Mary, rest her head
On your dear lap of blue!
© Victor Daley