‘Buried Unknownst’ was published in PJ Kennedy’s poetry book, ‘Shadows on our Doorstep’
PJ Kennedy won the prestigious ‘PJ Drummond Recitation Competition Cup’ for his recitation of ‘Buried Unknownst’ at the Allingham Festival in Ballyshannon earlier this month.
‘Buried Unknownst’ was written in 2005 and later published in PJ Kennedy’s book of poetry, ‘Shadows on our Doorstep’.
“My poem, ‘Buried Unknown’, honors the memory of unbaptized children who were not allowed to be buried in consecrated ground,” explains the poet and writer Belturbet.
The Allingham Festival, which has been taking place since the 1970s, pays tribute to the late William Allingham, the 19th century poet best known for his most famous poem – still taught to schoolchildren today – “The Fairies”.
Guests at this year’s festival included Séamus O’Rourke from Carrigallen and actor Stephen Rea.
Allingham, who was born on The Mall in Ballyshannon spent time at Killeshandra boarding school before later becoming editor of Fraser’s Magazine in London.
The Perpetual Cup is in memory of a man who was a great lover of William Allingham’s poetry – and was presented to Mr. Kennedy by Niamh Lawless, granddaughter of PJ Drummond, at Ballyshannon’s Abbey Arts Theater.
I started a crowd of stones
at the corner of a hilly field.
Like children far from home
the stones seemed scattered,
some grouped, some alone,
some bent over, others low with the humidity.
All were dressed in moss
with a mowing of grass.
Those in the ring of rushes, like a frozen dance.
Brown heads at the back, noisy.
Black heads jostled each other on the other side.
The blonde near the buachalán buí.
The stone with the fossil crown,
I saw her curly hair.
Brothers holding hands,
they were the oldest and the youngest,
said the neighbors.
The twins shared their shortages,
a grandmother said, “There is nothing to be ashamed of.
They were arranged in silk
the size of a handkerchief.
The lonely stone, shy,
thought the most unknown child who arrived.
Unknown stones with dimples
which could contain a dice of tears.
Blades of cocksfoot shelter them all,
a bandage of heather against the hill
keep the cattle away.