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The Lost Heifer, By Austin Clarke – An Iconic Irish Poem

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This week I picked a powerful poem by Austin Clarke titled The Lost Heifer. This poem was published in 1936, and it was a time when Ireland’s nationalism was under threat.  In the poem The Lost Heifer, Clarke writes about Ireland at the time of the Civil War. And if you did not know, a heifer is (in farming) a cow that has not borne a calf or has borne only one calf. But I am sure the mention in this poem has a deeper meaning. 

I really like Austin Clarke’s poems, they seem so simple, but you can tell there is a whole world of meaning behind them. Just like in the poem I recently shared by Clarke, The Planters Daughter

This poem, ‘The Lost Heifer,’ comes in at number 36 on the top 100 Irish poems list.

Enjoy this wonderful Irish poem, 

The Lost Heifer, By Austin Clarke - An Iconic Irish Poem

The Lost Heifer by Austin Clarke

When the black herds of the rain were grazing,
In the gap of the pure cold wind
And the watery hazes of the hazel
Brought her into my mind,
I thought of the last honey by the water
That no hive can find.

Brightness was drenching through the branches
When she wandered again,
Turning sliver out of dark grasses
Where the skylark had lain,
And her voice coming softly over the meadow
Was the mist becoming rain.

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Colm Burke

Wednesday 30th of November 2022

Beautiful poem. Just wondering if the word is sliver or silver in one of the lined. Some have one, some the other. I think it is sliver, as far as I can ascertain. Somewhat different to the word silver. Important dustinction. I have googled searches for YouTube recitations of poem. There's is some confusion over the word used. I imagine the poet knew the word he wanted to write. Hopefully no Joycean mistakes being made in the text. Yours