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'The Shamrock'

The late John Lynch worked only briefly for the Union Leader as a reporter (1954-55) but his poem endures and is reprinted each year on St. Patrick's Day.

Sure a shamrock I'll be wearin',

'Tis in honor of old Erin,

And bad cess to that gossoon who scowls at me.

For this cherished, small possession

Is an eloquent profession,

That my faith is as St. Patrick's used to be.

It's a part of Irish history,

A token of a mystery,

A badge I'll wear commingled with few fears.

It recalls a nation's glories,

And that host of bitter Tories

Who denied her freedom, seven hundred years.

It's a modest plant, symbolic

Of the Kerry dancers' frolic

In the storied glens where love's young dream was born,

And of whispered words at parting,

When the wars would be astarting,

Where the valiant fell, the women left to mourn.

It's a minstrel's song, a sadness,

And a colleen, and a gladness,

It's the sight of things that really are unseen,

A parade with roar and rumble,

And a thing that keeps one humble,

It's St. Patrick's Day, the wearin' o the green.

It's the years of persecution,

And a soggarth's absolution,

It's the hush that comes at Sanctus out in Clare.

It's the blackthorn of O'Mara,

And a moonbeam over Tara,

It's the fragrance of the roses in Kildare.

It's the starlight that is falling

When the River Shannon's calling,

And the heart that aches for beauty heeds the call,

It's a deeply burning sorrow,

And a prayer that some tomorrow

Will return a prodigal to Donegal.

It's a mystic, shining portal

To the land of the immortal,

Where you talk with Dan O'Connells every day,

Where there's little lust for power,

Where there's glory in an hour,

If your name's like Hurley, Manahan, or Shea.

It's a mist around Killarney,

The shillelagh, and the blarney

It's a rosary, the tinkle of a bell,

It's some candlelight agleaming,

It's a sighing and a dreaming

Of a love that has forever cast a spell.

Some sad hour you may find me,

As I leave this world behind me,

Whisht, I know there'll be some stardust in my eyes,

With the leprechauns beguiling,

There'll be tears but there'll be smiling,

For I'll see a three-leafed shamrock in the skies.


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