'An tOcras Mór' The Great Hunger.



Post Reply
Forum Home > Poems & Songs Of "The Great Hunger" > THE SONG OF THE FAMINE

Site Owner
Posts: 1033




By Anomymous


Want! want! want! Under the harvest moon;

Want! want! want! Thro' dark December's gloom;

To face the fasting day upon the frozen flags!

And fasting turn away to cower beneath a rag.

Food! food! food! Beware before you spurn,

Ere the cravings of the famishing to loathing madness turn;For hunger is a fearful spell, And fearful work is done,

Where the key to many a reeking crime is the curse of living on !


For horrid instincts cleave unto the starving life,

And the crumbs they grudge from plenty's feast but lengthen out the strife –

But lengthen out the pest upon the fetid air,

Alike within the country hut and the city's crowded lair.


Home! home! home! A dreary, fireless hole –

A miry floor and a dripping roof, and a little straw -- its whole.

Only the ashes that smoulder not, their blaze was long ago,And the empty space for kettle and pot where once they stood in a row!


Only the naked coffin of deal, and the little body within,

I cannot shut it out from my sight, so hunger-bitten and thin; -

I hear the small weak moan - the stare of the hungry eye,

Though my heart was full of a strange, strange joy the moment I saw it die.


I had food for it e'er yesterday, but the hard crust came too late –

It lay dry between the dying lips, and I loathed it -- yet I ate.

Three children lie by a cold stark corpse In a room that' s over head –

They have not strength to earn a meal,

Or sense to bury the dead!


And oh! but hunger's a cruel heart, I shudder at my own,

As I wake my child at a tearless wake, All lightless and alone!

I think of the grave that waits, and waits but the dawn of day,

And a wish is rife in my weary heart --I strive and strive, but it won't depart-

I cannot put it away.


Food! food! food! For the hopeless day's begun;

Thank God there's one the less to feed! I thank God it is my son!

And oh! the dirty winding sheet, and oh! the shallow grave!

Yet your mother envies you the same of all the alms they gave!

Death! death! death! In lane, and alley, and street,

Each hand is skinny that holds the bier, and totters each bearer's feet;

The livid faces mock their woe, and the eyes refuse a tear;

For Famine's gnawing every heart, and tramples on love and fear!


Cold! cold! cold! In the snow, and frost, and sleet,

Cowering over a fireless hearth, or perishing in the street,

Under the country's hedge, On the cabin's miry floor,

In hunger, sickness, and nakedness, it's oh! God help the poor.


It's oh! if the wealthy knew a tithe of the bitter dole

That coils and coils round the bursting heart like a fiend, to tempt the soul!

Hunger, and thirst, and nakedness, sorrow, and sickness, and cold,

It's hard to bear when the blood is young, and hard when the blood is old.


Sick! sick! sick! With an aching, swimming brain,

And the fierceness of the fever-thirst, and the maddening famine pain.

On many a happy face to gaze as it passes by –

To turn from hard and pitiless hearts, and look up for leave to die.


Food! food! food! Through splendid street and square,

Food! food! food! Where is enough and to spare;

And ever so meager the dole that falls, What trembling fingers start,

The strongest snatch it from the weak, For hunger through walls of stone would break


It's a devil in the heart!

Like an evil spirit, it haunts my dreams, through silent, fearful night,

Till I start awake from the hideous scenes, I cannot shut from my sight;

They glare on my burning lids, and thought, like a sleepless goul,

Rides wild upon my famine-fevered brain -- Food! ere at last it come in vain


For the body and the soul!




This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850

March 30, 2010 at 1:58 PM Flag Quote & Reply

You must login to post.