Veritas launches ‘A Little Book of Ledwidge’ on Poetry Day Ireland

27 Apr, 2017 | News

Veritas will be launching one of their latest offerings in The Irish Writers Centre in Dublin on Poetry Day Ireland which is celebrated today, 27 April. The Little Book of Ledwidge will be launched by Helen McEntee TD, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People.

The Little Book of Ledwidge has been compiled by John Quinn to commemorate the centenary of Francis Ledwidge’s death in the Battle of Passchendaele. John has compiled a selection of writings, both by Ledwidge and those closest to him. These poems, diary entries and letters follow Ledwidge’s life from budding poet in County Meath to soldier facing the horrors of the battle on the western front.

We discover, through Ledwidge’s colourful verse, his reactions to the world around him, life as an Irish soldier in the British Army during the First World War, and his response to the execution of close friend Thomas McDonagh in the Easter Rising of 1916. Featuring an assessment by Seamus Heaney, this book is offered as a fine addition to any poetry and history lover’s collection.

John Quinn is a former RTÉ radio broadcaster. Previous publications by Veritas include Goodnight Ballivor, I’ll Sleep in Trim, also the subject of a TG4 documentary, Letters to Olive: Sea of Love, Sea of Loss, Seed of Love, Seed of Life and Credo: Personal Testimonies of Faith.

Francis Edward Ledwidge (19 August 1887 – 31 July 1917) was an Irish war poet from County Meath. Sometimes known as the ‘poet of the blackbirds’, he was killed in action at the Battle of Passchendaele during World War I.

The Little Book of Ledwidge is available now from Veritas bookshops and online at, retailing at €9.99.


Lament for Thomas MacDonagh by Francis Ledwidge

He shall not hear the bittern cry
In the wild sky, where he is lain,
Nor voices of the sweeter birds,
Above the wailing of the rain.

Nor shall he know when loud March blows 5
Thro’ slanting snows her fanfare shrill,
Blowing to flame the golden cup
Of many an upset daffodil.

But when the Dark Cow leaves the moor,
And pastures poor with greedy weeds, 10
Perhaps he’ll hear her low at morn,
Lifting her horn in pleasant meads.

Lament For The Poets: 1916 – Poem by Francis Ledwidge

I heard the Poor Old Woman say:
“At break of day the fowler came,
And took my blackbirds from their songs
Who loved me well thro’ shame and blame

No more from lovely distances
Their songs shall bless me mile by mile,
Nor to white Ashbourne call me down
To wear my crown another while.

With bended flowers the angels mark
For the skylark the place they lie,
From there its little family
Shall dip their wings first in the sky.

And when the first suprise of flight
Sweet songs excite, from the far dawn
Shall there come blackbirds loud with love,
Sweet echoesmof the singers gone.

But in the lovely hush of eve
Weeping I grieve the silent bills”
I heard the Poor Old Woman say
In Derry of the little hills.



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