More Goldenbridge Poetry: The Fairies by William Allingham.

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And grey cock’s feather!

Down along the rocky shore,
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain-lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

High on the hill-top
The old king sits;
He is now so old and grey
He’s nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
Columbkille he crosses,
On his stately journeys
From Slieve League to Rosses;
Or going up with music
On cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen
Of the gay Northern Lights.
They stole little Bridget
For seven years long.
When she came down again
Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back,
Between the night and morrow;
They thought that she was fast asleep,
But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
Deep within the lakes,
On a bed of flag-leaves,
Watching till she wakes.

By the craggy hill-side,
Through the mosses bare
They have planted thorn trees
For pleasure here and there.
Is any man so daring
To dig up one in spite,
He shall find the thornies set
In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And grey cock’s feather!

We are into the month of February, which is celebration time for St. Brigid or Bridget fans In Ireland.

I remember learning this poem off by heart as a small child in Goldenbridge and truly loving the magic of the words and the fairies and the wee men. I would have loved to have been in the privileged position of being able to explore it with a teacher. I grew up believing in fairies and was so taken in with the story. I used to recite the words of the poem whilst simultaneously bouncing back and forth two, three and even four tennis-sized balls against the enclosed GB prison wall. Lots of us were experts at ball-playing and reciting anything we learnt in our respective internal or external classrooms.

The recitation by Lachlan Young lends itself beautifully to the feel, magic and imagery of the poem.

William Allingham hailed from Donegal. What a perfectly handsome person. Red hair runs deep in my ancestral veins. So I’m a natural lover of red-heads.

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One thought on “More Goldenbridge Poetry: The Fairies by William Allingham.

  1. Pingback: O Madonna by Peter Reynosa. | Marie-Thérèse O'Loughlin Goldenbridgeinmate39

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