Christendom College

College President’s Poetry Published in Ireland

September 29, 2017

A poem by college president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell has been published in Ireland, in the latest issue of Ireland of the Welcomes magazine. The poem, which is his first ever published, is titled “A Prayer at Thor Balyee,” and concerns 20th century literary figure W.B. Yeats’ summer home in Ireland.

Dr. O’Donnell giving a tour in Ireland during the St. Columcille Institute, an annual summer study abroad program.

O’Donnell, the author of Heart of the Redeemer and Swords Around the Cross, wrote the poem after giving a tour of the home, which is located in County Galway, Ireland. The location is famous because it is a 15th century castle, but even more so due to its later name: Yeats’ Tower, thanks to his inhabiting of the castle in the 20th century.

Here is the poem:

‘Long a sundrenched road in Galway,

Beside a secret lost boreen,

I came across a bridge of stone

Midst leafy shade and dancing sheen.

 

I heard the music of a stream,

Its dancing waters rhythm sing;

My eyes beheld a tall gray tower

As chanting birds rose up on wing.

 

This was the house, a soldier’s tower,

In which a man with heart on fire

Composed his verse in mystic hour,

‘Spired by beauty, his sole desire.

 

Within its rooms a presence lingers,

For here the muses came to play

With him whose love so full of passion

Would lead him oft to paths astray.

 

Within each room of that grey tower

A tragic beauty haunts all there,

For in his quest for perfect beauty

Breathes a quiet born of despair.

 

In that stillness of the summer’s air

I sensed that heart’s core, deep desire

To know a love forever true −

Oh to turn his gaze up higher!

 

In the upper room I felt his pain

His passion for the truth to claim;

I knelt in prayer to beg Love’s Heart

To ransom and keep that lover’s heart!

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