Poem: To Éire with Love

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

I traveled there a woman

and came back a child

with my eyes full of the clouds

coming over the mountains

so I could never tell

how high they were,

the rivers going on


the irises

floating down to the sea,

the fuchsias so wild

but not really.

All along the way

cowslips lived

where meadows survived

and milkmaids didn’t mind

the rain

so sudden

as suddenly gone.

The fields were greener than any

in France

through the glass of our visit

going down to the sea,

everywhere surrounding,

only my heart brave enough

to go on

into the waves,

a lonesome boatman calling me

to come live with him



Writing Note: This is the first of two posts in celebration of St Patrick’s Day this Saturday, March 17th.  Both are  reflections from a number of trips I made to Southern Ireland in the 1980’s. (There are also some allusions to a couple of traditional Irish folksongs…curious if anyone knows what they are) I’m posting without editing and the painting was actually never quite finished. I decided to leave it so.

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

37 thoughts on “Poem: To Éire with Love

  1. So very pleased you left this painting “as is”, for it has a certain vital freshness and juiciness to it this way! I know the Irish are always singing ballads about going down into the bottom of the sea with a beloved, right after celebrating all the spring joys you write about here! Wonderful honor you paid to those Irish traditional pieces you refer to.


  2. “I traveled there a woman
    and came back a child”

    That is poetry in motion; so very evocative.
    From beginning to end it holds the reader
    Your artwork is poetry, your poetry is art.
    A huge pleasure to spend time with your
    creations this early Sunday Morning.


  3. There is music in the irises and fuchsias, and music in the poem, and music in the references in the poem. There as so may aspects to the poem that deserve comment: The language intertwined with images:
    the irises
    floating down to the sea,
    the ending where your heart is the only one brave enough to go down to the sea where a lonely boatman calls you
    to come live with him
    with the metaphor of the lonely boatman of the River Styx lurking in the background, which, or course, refers backward in the poem to the irises floating down to the sea, and the echoes in irises and fuchsias to spring floating down to the sea,
    all counterbalanced by the romantic image of the boatman, the sea, and the flowers.
    This is beautiful and lyric, as the commenters above all say, but I find it much more than that. It is also haunting, echoing the ancient Irish ballads that so many times, as Ina’s example points out, associate the grave and the person long gone with the beauty and power of life.
    I am glad to start my morning with this masterful a work, artwork and poem.


    • I always feel good when my writing comes across as musical, Thomas. And also that you felt the words and images were interwoven, for I know I had such a desire for both to express my intense love for Ireland.

      I lived in England at the time, which is also an Island of course, but never felt the lure of the sea like I did in Ireland, even when I was at a distance from it. Perhaps because the Irish themselves feel it so strongly, as it so often took them away…but also brought them back too…

      And thank you for finding it ‘haunting, echoing the ancient Irish ballads…’ for they were at the heart of what I was writing about.

      I so appreciate your engaging thoughts about this post!


  4. I love the idea of seeing through the wondering eyes of a child again; also the sense of mystery – from ‘the fuchsias so wild, but not really’, to ‘through the glass of our visit’, and finally the mysterious boatman. I was reminded of Ibsen’s play ‘The Lady from the Sea’, when in the final scene, the main character, Ellida, decides against going away with a sailor she met years before and stays with her husband instead. Very evocative. (It’s in my mind because a new production of the play has just begun here.) Beautiful painting, as ever. I can’t tell it’s unfinished either.


    • Hi!

      That’s very interesting about Ibsen’s play…I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it and now I want to for sure!

      The painting was very nearly finished…just a little shading left undone on the lower Iris and the milkmaids or cuckoo flowers. A painting interrupted…by dreaminess…most likely!

      Thanks so much!


  5. My daughter put the Dropkick Murphys *Green Fields of France* knowing I would love it – I still am moved to tears every time it comes up on my shuffled playlist. Wanted to know more about the band but my daughter assured me I probably would not enjoy most of their music. 🙂

    Never been to Ireland, although I have a few drops of Irish blood. Your lovely poem and painting have stirred up a desire to go there. “the irises/floating down to the sea” – delightful!


  6. Diane,

    This is beautiful; you have captured the essence of the south of Ireland perfectly.

    My family have strong connections with the south and we have had many happy holidays in Mayo, Connemara etc

    And my son has married an Irish girl and they have made Ireland their home; they are in Kildare about an hour from Dublin.

    It’s good to be back. I have missed yu.

    Much love

    Christine x


    • Hi Christine,

      Thank you! My travels in Ireland still are so special to me. How wonderful that you have connections to the Emerald Isle…one of my regrets is that I didn’t get further north to Connemara and Donegal.

      And to learn your son is living in Kildare…which I have visited also. A very lovely area.

      So glad to have your visits again. I missed you too!

      Love and hugs,


  7. Hi Diane,

    what a wonderful poem and the drawing is so beautiful! Your memories of Ireland so poetical! That lonesome boatsman calling you to live with him 🙂

    I love this kind of poetry. I once was in Ireland, in Dublin, as a child, my memory is that of red haired kids on the quay looking at our ship with a longing of getting on board and sailing away in their eyes 🙂 My father was very fond of the country, he would bring home records of Bridie McGallagher (not sure I spell that name right) with songs like The girl from Donegal, and Goodbye Danny boy. Maybe one of the songs is somewhere hidden in your poem, I did find one!

    The green fields of France is that song I love very much and, apart from each other, all my sons at one stage in their life were touched by it. Which is cute, considering they liked hard rock, punk and other noise too 🙂

    Oh how do you do, young Willy McBride
    Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside
    And rest for a while in the warm summer sun
    I’ve been walking all day, and I’m nearly done
    And I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
    When you joined the great fallen in 1916
    Well I hope you died quick
    And I hope you died clean
    Or Willy McBride, was is it slow and obscene


    Thank you for this posting, a great way to start this misty day!


    • Hi Ina,

      Thank you! I’m so glad you know “The Green Fields of France”…it is a very sad song, as so many reflections on WWI are, especially regarding the loss of so many young lives. I first heard it sung by the Furies, a group of brothers who sang traditional Irish music. I saw them perform live on one of my visits, in the hotel where we were staying.

      I love your memory of Dublin…how very interesting to go there on a ship and see it from that perspective…especially through a child’s wondering eyes.

      And speaking of a lonesome boatman…

      ‘He told me a story of
      Long since past
      Of a gallant ship with it’s long grey mast
      Of his captain’s cap
      With it’s shining braid
      And the wonderfull voyages that he made…’

      (I think you might enjoy the full lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmPF24SyUUY)


  8. So lovely! I am in love with Ireland myself, my grandfather came from Waterford and I feel a strong connection with Ireland. I have been there numerous times and feel ‘home’ when I am there. I will likely retire there. Thank you for your lovely poetry and artwork! Fantastic..finished or not!


  9. Oh, such beautiful artwork…and I couldn’t tell it wasn’t finished! The poem is lovely. Isn’t it wonderful when something fills you with enthusiasm and makes you feel like a kid again. Great imagery. We’d like to visit Ireland someday. Part of my hubby’s ancestry is from there.


    • Thank you! Yes, usually when I go back to something I wrote so long ago I feel compelled to make many revisions…not this one. I hope you do visit Ireland at some point. It is a place for creative and magical souls like yourself!


  10. What wonderful imagery! I like it that you traveled to Ireland as a woman and returned as a child. That’s a place I’d love to visit someday. (My great grandparents came from there.) Thanks for the delightful poem, and as usual a beautiful painting!


    • Thank you, Betty! You must go to Ireland! I don’t have a drop of Irish blood that I know about, and yet it felt like I was returning home from the first moment and I think I left a few dreams there. It is a wonderful welcoming imaginative place…and for a poet it is full of inspiration and acceptance.


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