‘Losing Kathleen’ © Joe Canning 2016. All Rights Reserved.

‘Losing Kathleen’
© Joe Canning 2016. All Rights Reserved.

I met her on the road to Castlecomer,
a basket of wild flowers on her arm.
Coming from the town of Ballyragget
A traveller lass that wandered all the land.
“Buy a pretty rose from me, please kind sir?
Help a traveller lass on this fine day,
foxgloves for a penny sir I’ll sell you,
Help a gypsy lass to pay her way”.

I asked if she was native to the county,
she told me she was born ‘neath Sieveardagh,
she heard the sound of wild birds in their singing,
as they welcomed her that fresh Kilkenny dawn.
“My mother washed my face in cold clear water,
she kissed me and she named me Kathleen Bawn
Won’t you buy a foxglove from me kind sir?
Help a traveller girl in life get on”.

“Perhaps you’d like if I would sing to you sir,
a dozen songs for sixpence I can do,
Some songs about the Suir and emerald valleys,
Dungarvan, Goresbridge, Graiguenamanagh too.
A song about that fellow they called Kelly,
that came from rebel stock down in Killann,
that made the lives of foreign foe a misery.
perhaps instead you’ll settle for a dance.

I heard not half the words the maid was saying,
Lost was I in the darkness of her eyes
I bought from her a necklace of fresh daisies
then off she went beneath the morning sky.
‘Twas long ago I chanced upon that creature,
I’ve searched for her these long years, but in vain,
Distressed I am that I had not the courage,
to tell her that I loved her there and then.

Perhaps she would have laughed at me in teasing,
Perhaps invited me to walk and court,
A bachelor I have been since that first meeting,
in the hope our paths would cross in this old world.
At nights I feel those tempting eyes beguile me,
recall that flaxen hair that hugged her waist,
Regretting I was trapped, lost in hypnosis,
How it haunts me now the beauty of that face.

“Buy a pretty rose from me please, kind sir?
Help a travelling lass on this fine day.
Foxgloves for a penny sir I’ll sell you,
help a gypsy lass to pay her way.
Perhaps a song or two you’ll let me sing you,
some daisies from my basket buy I pray”.
Oh how I rue that day and my misfortune,
When I let Kilkenny Kathleen get away.

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