The Famine Cross

At the back of St Josephs Hospital in Longford, there is the local famine graveyard. This poem is dedicated to those interred there during the famine, and until the home closed, those folks were the poorest of the poor. They died while in the workhouse, of which the father of the poet Padraic Colum was once the master.

The Famine Cross in Longford - Photo by Lalin Swaris
The Famine Cross in Longford – Photo by Lalin Swaris


In testament the Famine Cross there stands
Neath which the pauper lies
Names little known, often less spoken
Sleep under the grey and foggy skies…

Yet still today folk walk the roads
Unseen by those whose hurrying feet
Pass them by on our busy lives
As the live and die on the city street…

If it was not for the welfare state
For all its faults in these modern days
There would be more to this day in graves like this
Who for the passing poet a prayer says.

The poet Padraic Colum was born in Longford workhouse, son of the master of the workhouse, the inmates of which are buried in the famine graveyard behind it… Photo by Lalin Swaris

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