Each Old Woman, As She Took
Her Turn In The Leading Recitative, Seemed Possessed For The Moment
With A Profound Ecstasy Of Grief, Swaying To And Fro, And Bending
Her Forehead To The Stone Before Her, While She Called Out To The
Dead With A Perpetually Recurring Chant Of Sobs.
All round the graveyard other wrinkled women, looking out from under
the deep red petticoats that cloaked them, rocked themselves with
the same rhythm, and intoned the inarticulate chant that is
sustained by all as an accompaniment.
The morning had been beautifully fine, but as they lowered the
coffin into the grave, thunder rumbled overhead and hailstones
hissed among the bracken.
In Inishmaan one is forced to believe in a sympathy between man and
nature, and at this moment when the thunder sounded a death-peal of
extraordinary grandeur above the voices of the women, I could see
the faces near me stiff and drawn with emotion.
When the coffin was in the grave, and the thunder had rolled away
across the hills of Clare, the keen broke out again more
passionately than before.
This grief of the keen is no personal complaint for the death of one
woman over eighty years, but seems to contain the whole passionate
rage that lurks somewhere in every native of the island. In this cry
of pain the inner consciousness of the people seems to lay itself
bare for an instant, and to reveal the mood of beings who feel their
isolation in the face of a universe that wars on them with winds and
Enter page number
Page 40 of 190
Words from 10608 to 10870