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fatherAs we remember our dead during November, we also think especially of those who are bereaved. One thirteenth-century Irish poet (Donnachadh Mór Ó Dálaigh from Clare) expresses this pain poignantly in Gaelic on the death of his young son, Aonghus: ‘Only on loan had I Aonghus from God … he has gone to another father’. Calling him his ‘young hero’ and his ‘eye’s treasure’, he expresses what many bereaved parents feel: why could I not die before he did? Instead, ‘for the Lord of Heaven have I reared Aonghus, the half of my heart’.

We are also mindful of the many Filipinos who are in the throes of bereavement at this time.

There were no easy answers in the thirteenth century; nor are there today.



Do you have the Gaelic original of the poem?

Amongst historians it was presumed for generations that people in historical time felt the loss of children less because it happened so often. My observation of heartbreaking poetry on the tombs of Roman children and the archaeological discovery of a tiny neolithic child laid to rest on a swan's wing blew this out of the water if I'd ever accepted it.
The original Gaelic text and bibliographic information can be found at:


Click on word "text" on left of page.

Edited at 2013-11-14 12:22 (UTC)
Thanks for the link.

I suspect it loses something in translation- everything really.
The final 4 lines of the poem read:

Fionnuala died first (got the original sod)
Aodha died, Fearadhaigh died,
they departed when young (without stain)
I only had them on loan.
All this week, whenever a customer was whiney (and there are a lot of them at our location), I've been reminding them of the Filipinos. Honestly, it's stopped a couple of them in their tracks. I could practically see them reconsidering the selfishness of their previous statement, and I'm glad!
How true.
Well done you! :o)

It never hurts any of us to be reminded of our privilege occasionally. We all possess at least some.