The Rowan's Lullaby

The Rowan's Lullaby

A Poem by Elaenor Aisling

The raven flies o're yon Rowan tree
Where beneath your cradle lies
It's branches sing a gentle song
A haunting lullaby

It should be church bells that you hear
Not the Rowan's pagan song
But death reached you before the priest
Because he tarried long

'twas no room in the old church yard
For those untouched by holy drop
The brothers found you sinful, dear
But the Rowan received your cot

May the Virgin blessed hear my prayers
St. Anne and Margaret too
So when the judgement day has come
I shall sit in heaven with you

Until that day my Bonnie babe
Sweet may your slumber be
And rest in quiet humble peace
In the arms of the Rowan tree
In Gaelic 

Eitlíonn an fhiaigh o're yon Rowan crann
I gcás ina luíonn faoi bhun do chliabhán
Chanadh sé le craobhacha amhrán mhín
A amhrán ciúin

Ba chóir go mbeadh bells eaglais go éisteacht leat
Níl an Rowan Amhrán na págánacha
Ach shroich tú bás roimh an sagart
Mar gheall ar tarried sé fada

'twas aon seomra sa chlós eaglais sean-
Dóibh siúd a bhfuil tionchar ag titim naofa
Na deartháireacha fuair tú Nós Nua, daor
Ach fuair an Rowan do cot

Féadfaidh an Mhaighdean Bheannaithe cloisteáil mo ghuí
Naomh Anna agus Margaret ró-
Mar sin, nuair a bheidh an lá breithiúnas a thagann
Beidh mé ag suí sa spéir le leat

Go dtí an lá sin mo deas leanbh
Is féidir milis do codlah a bheith
Agus an chuid eile i síocháin humble ciúin
I arm an chrainn Rowan

© 2012 Elaenor Aisling

Author's Note

Elaenor Aisling
This ballad was inspired by a Celtic song I once heard detailing a practice of early Christians in Europe. If a baby died before being baptized it was ruled that it could not be buried in a churchyard, so many parents turned to the pagan tradition of burying the dead under Rowan trees, a tree held sacred by the Celts.

NOTE: the Irish is a very rough translation, so forgive any missed words.

My Review

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This is a gem of a poem, and the history behind it makes it even more so. Very well-written, exudes a classic air.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 8 Years Ago

Elaenor Aisling

8 Years Ago

Thank you very much!
This is amazing. I love the story, tradition, and lyrical quality of it is so perfectly woven. This piece has a mournful tone that speaks to the ages, that I find so peaceful, yet broken, yet whole. It makes you almost take more hope in the pagans than God. Truly an amazing piece. Sigh, so perfect.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 8 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on July 13, 2012
Last Updated on August 13, 2012
Tags: tree, rowan, celtic, baby, irish, death, grave, raven, priest, church, mother, grief, sad


Elaenor Aisling
Elaenor Aisling

Limerick, Ireland....I wish.

I am currently a student. I write mainly poetry, a few short stories here and there. I love to read and write. Favorite authors include, Victor Hugo, J.R.R. Tolkien, Tolstoy, Wilde, Alcott, C.S. Lewis.. more..


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