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Gaza – a Ghazal

Cathleen ni Houlihan (1), she does not sleep tonight
Her pains are over, but she thinks of another tonight

Maiden pure, of downcast eyes, her honour challenged
Her son stands against his brothers, defends her chastity tonight

She afraid of being pillaged, having little left, cows in terror
Her sons, who stand with their brother, against  their own cousins, defend her tonight

She sobbing, of her pains multiplied by their defense that she endures,
Her cousins stand with her sons against the world tonight.

I, a son of Cathleen ni Houlihan, pray for them, all I can do…
For a time of peace to come when the smoke has cleared from the bombs of tonight.

Painting by John Lavery of his wife in character as the mystical personification of Ireland in anguish, Cathleen Ni Houlihan
Painting by John Lavery of his wife in character as the mystical personification of Ireland in anguish, Cathleen Ni Houlihan
Cathleen ni Houlihan – a poetic name for Ireland, from a time when patriotic verse was illegal under British rule.

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