November 2010 - Vol. 44

I See his Blood Upon the Rose  
poem by Joseph Mary Plunkett

I see his blood upon the rose 
And in the stars the glory of his eyes, 
His body gleams amid eternal snows, 
His tears fall from the skies. 

I see his face in every flower; 
The thunder and the singing of the birds 
Are but his voice and carven by his power 
Rocks are his written words. 

All pathways by his feet are worn, 
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea, 
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn, 
His cross is every tree.

Joseph Mary Plunkett (1879-1916) was born in Dublin, Ireland. He was educated at Catholic University School, Belvedere College and Stonyhurst College.  His study of the mystics John of the Cross, Theresa of Avila, and Francis de Sales is discernable in his poetry. He was a close friend of Thomas MacDonagh and Padraic Pearse, noted Irish poets. He was for a short while editor of the literary publication, the Irish  Review.  Along with MacDonagh and Edward Martyn, he co-founded the Irish Theatre. During the 1916 Rising he was one of the signers of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. He was imprisoned by the English army in the Richmond Barracks.  Shortly before his execution in the courtyard of Kilmainham jail, on the morning of May 4th, he married his fiance, Grace Gifford, in the jail's chapel. He died at the age of 28. 
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