In the Shade of the Blackthorn

Sinead O’Connor’s new album came out yesterday. How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? I assumed it would be good, but I’m surprised by just how good it is. Angry, graceful, and gutsy. She sings I Am Stretched On Your Grave live at the end. She sings it a cappella, like the original Scullion tune she covered.

I Am Stretched On Your Grave is a traditional Irish poem, translated into English by Frank O’Connor (no relation to Sinead). It’s a beautiful, haunting poem.

I Am Stretched on Your Grave

I am stretched on your grave and will lie there forever,
If your hands were in mine, I’d be sure they’d not sever,
My appletree, my brightness ’tis time we were together,

For I smell of the earth and am worn by the weather.

When my family thinks that I’m safe in my bed,
From night until morning I am stretched at your head.

Calling out to the air with tears hot and wild,

My grief for the girl that I loved as a child.

Do you remember the night we were lost
In the shade of the blackthorn and the chill of the frost.
Thanks be to Jesus we did what was right

And your maidenhead still is your Pillar of Light.

The priests and the friars approach me in dread,
Because I still love you, my love, and your dead.

And still would be your shelter through rain and through storm

For with you in the cold ground I cannot sleep warm.

I am stretched on your grave and will lie there forever,
If your hands were in mine, I’d be sure they’d not sever,

My appletree, my brightness ’tis time we were together,

For I smell of the earth and am worn by the weather.

–Traditional (translated by Frank O’Connor)

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