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Winnifred M Letts

Winifred M. Letts was born in Ireland in 1882, and her early work concerned itself almost entirely with the humor and pathos found in her immediate surroundings. Her Songs from Leinster (1913) was her most characteristic collection; a volume full of the poetry of simple people and humble souls. Although she called herself "a back-door sort of bard," she was particularly effective in the old ballad measure and in her quaint portrayal of Irish peasants rather than of Gaelic kings and pagan heroes. She also wrote three novels, five books for children, a later volume of Poems of the War and, during the WW1, served as a nurse at various base hospitals.

The Chapel on the Hill

The chapel of my childhood
Is on the green hill-side,
And in the long grass up the hill
The graves of them that's died.
My mother often took me
When I was young and small;
I'd kneel upon her skirts and count
The Stations on the wall.

Each evening in the Maytime
The rosary we'd say:
You'd hear beyant the chapel wall
The corncrakes in the hay.
The flowers round the altar,
They made the air smell sweet,
And cool the chapel floor would be
To little childher's feet.

It's scarce a day was passing
But there I'd be a while:
I mind the way the boys' bare feet
Went patting up the aisle.
The girls would come from lessons
And kneel to say a prayer.
You'd see the noonday sunshine caught
In Mary Connor's hair.