I shall not go to Heaven when I die
by Helen Waddell (1889-1965)
Irish poet and translator
Illustrated by Jef Franssen
I shall not go to HEAVEN when I die
I shall not go to Heaven when I die,
but if they let me be
I think I'll take the road I used to know
that goes by Shere-na-garagh and the sea.
And all day breasting me the wind shall blow
and I'll hear nothing but the peewits cry
and the waves talking in the sea below.
I think it will be winter when I die.
For no one from the North could die in spring.
And all the heather will be dead and grey.
And the bog-cotton will have blown away,
and there will be no yellow on the whin.
But I shall smell the peat,
and when it's almost dark I'll set my feet
where a white track goes glimmering to the hills,
and see far up a light...
Would you think Heaven could be so small a thing
as a lit window on the hill at night?
And come in, stumbling from the gloom,
half-blind, into a fire-lit room,
turn, and see you,
and there abide.
If it were true
and if I thought they would let me be
I almost wish it were tonight I died.