Inspirational Women of the First World War
1859 - 1931
Katharine Tynan was born into a farming family in Clondalkin, County Dublin, and was educated at St. Catherine's school in Drogheda. She began writing at seventeen and had her poetry first published in a Dublin paper in 1878.
She went on to play a major part in the literary groups around Dublin until her marriage in 1898 to English barrister Henry Albert Hinkson. Thereafter, Tynan would sometimes write under the name Katharine Tynan Hinkson.
Later she lived at Claremorris, County Mayo when her husband was a magistrate there from 1914 until 1919. During the war she did some philanthropic works and a little nursing.
For a while, Tynan was a close associate of poet and writer, William Butler Yeats and later a correspondent of the poet, Francis Ledwidge. She is said to have written over 100 novels. Her Collected Poems appeared in 1930; she also wrote five autobiographical volumes.
The Broken Soldier
The broken soldier sings and whistles day to dark;
He's but the remnant of a man, maimed and half-blind,
But the soul they could not harm goes singing like the lark,
Like the incarnate Joy that will not be confined.
The Lady at the Hall has given him a light task,
He works in the gardens as busy as a bee;
One hand is but a stump and his face a pitted mask;
The gay soul goes singing like a bird set free.
Whistling and singing like a linnet on wings;
The others stop to listen, leaning on the spade,
Whole men and comely, they fret at little things.
The soul of him's singing like a thrush in a glade.
Hither and thither, hopping, like Robin on the grass,
The soul in the broken man is beautiful and brave;
And while he weeds the pansies and the bright hours pass
The bird caught in the cage whistles its joyous stave.