Remote from smoky cities

Another sonnet from Thomas Caulfield Irwin, born in Warrenpoint in County Down in 1823 into what was a wealthy family; he had a privileged early life, travelling as young gentlemen did in those days, to complete his education. sadly, his mental health was not robust and he had problems in his later life, dying in 1892 in Dublin.

He is not very well-known outside Ireland, but was described as ‘master of the sonnet’ by his fellow countrymen. In the following sonnet, the word ‘sloaky’ refers to a type of seaweed, sloak (sloke, slake, slawk), more commonly called laver in English.

Remote from smoky cities

Remote from smoky cities, aged and grey,
I pass the long-drawn Summer sea-side day:
Now reading in the garden arbour where
In light and silence comes the freckled morn
When dews are on the leaf, and cool the air;
The faint wave wash is heard the beach along,
Whence a warm wind waves languidly the corn;
And poised in haze the lark shakes out her song;
Now hearing in deep grass the sweeping scythe,
And, in the sultry stillness voices blythe,
‘Till day is done. Blue coolness comes once more:
The reapers bind in twilight the last sheaf,
And the fresh spring-tide foams the sloaky reef
As floats the white moon up the lonely land.

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