Padraic Colum

Page 3
In 1924, Colum received an official commission to record Hawaiian folklore, producing At the Gateways of the Day (1924) and The Bright Islands (1925). From 1930 to 1933, he and Molly lived in Paris and Nice, where they met James Joyce and where Colum, in league with Joyce's retinue of drones, worked on the mammoth task of the transcription of Finnegans Wake.
In 1957, the death occurred in New York of Molly Colum; later that year, Pauric edited and completed the biography at which he and Molly had been busy until the morning of her death, Our Friend James Joyce (1958), a series of sensitive memoirs based on Molly's account of an acquaintance with Joyce, written in a spirit of fidelity to the subject's character and speech, and including some minor interpretations of Finnegans Wake and Chamber Music. Colum wrote the preface for Joyce's Anna Livia Plurabelle (1929), as well as introductions to works by Edgar Allen Poe (1908), Oliver Goldsmith (1913), Gerald Griffin (1918) and Jonathan Swift (1918).
In 1953, he was awarded the Gregory Medal by the Council of the Irish Academy of Letters.
His books on Ireland include My Irish Year (1912), The Road Round Ireland (1926) and The Big Tree (1935), a short-story collection illustrated by Jack B. Yeats.
Colum continued all his life to write poetry and was working on a new series of Noh plays at time of his death on January 11th, 1972, in Enfield, Connecticut. He is buried in St Fintan's Cemetery, Sutton, alongside his beloved Molly.

She Moved through the Fair
My young love said to me, "My brothers won't mind,
And my parents won't slight you for your lack of kind."
Then she stepped away from me, and this she did say
"It will not be long, love, till our wedding day."
She stepped away from me and she moved through the fair,
And fondly I watched her go here and go there,
then she went her way homeward with one star awake,
As the swan in the evening moves over the lake.
The people were saying no two were ere wed
But one had a sorrow that never was said,
And I smiled as she passed with her goods and her gear,
And that was the last that I saw of my dear.
I dreamt it last night that my young love came in,
So softly she entered, her feet made no din;
She came close beside me, and this she did say
"It will not be long, love, till our wedding day."

Vultures
Foul-feathered and scald-necked,
They sit in evil state;
Raw marks upon their breasts
As on men's wearing chains.

Impure, though they may plunge
Into the morning's springs,
And spirit-dulled, though they
Command the heaven's heights.

Angels of foulness, ye,
So fierce against the dead!
Sloth on your muffled wings,
And speed within your eyes!

Across the Door
The fiddles were playing and playing,
The couples were out on the floor;
From converse and dancing he drew me,
And across the door.
Ah! strange were the dim, wide meadows,
And strange was the cloud-strewn sky,
And strange in the meadows the corncrakes,
And they making cry!
The hawthorn bloom was by us,
Around us the breath of the south -
White hawthorn, strange in the night-time -
His kiss on my mouth!

(In 1909, James Joyce praised Across the Door with the only slightly ambiguous comment, "I couldn't have written that.")
The Crane
I know you, Crane:
I, too, have waited,
Waited until my heart
Melted to little pools around my feet!
Comer in the morning ere the crows,
Shunner,
Searcher -
Something find for me! The pennies that were laid upon the eyes
Of old, wise men I knew.

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