Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
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Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
 
120. The Dead Aviator
 
By Francis Hackett
 
 
SO ENDLESSLY the gray-lipped sea
Kept me within his eye,
And lean he licked his hollow flanks
And followed up the sky.
 
I was the lark whose song was heard        5
When I was lost to sight,
I was the golden arrow loosed
To pierce the heart of night.
 
I fled the little earth, I climbed
Above the rising sun,        10
I met the morning in a blaze
Before my hour was gone.
 
I ran beyond the rim of space,
Its reins I flung aside,
Laughter was mine and mine was youth        15
And all my own was pride.
 
From end to end I knew the way
I had no doubt nor fear
The minutes were a forfeit paid
To fetch the landfall near.        20
 
But all at once my heart I held,
My carol frozen died,
A white cloud laid her cheek to mine
And wove me to her side.
 
Her icy fingers clasped my flesh,        25
Her hair drooped in my face,
And up we fell and down we rose
And twisted into space.
 
Laughter was mine and mine was youth,
I pressed the edge of life,        30
I kissed the sun and raced the wind,
I found immortal strife.
 
Out of myself I spent myself,
I lost the mortal share,
My grave is in the ashen plain,        35
My spirit in the air.
 
Good-bye, sweet pride of man that flew,
Sweet pain of man that bled,
I was the lark that spilled his heart,
The golden arrow sped.        40
 
So endlessly the gray-lipped sea
Kept me within his eye
And lean he licked his hollow flanks
And followed up the sky.
 

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