Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Patrick Kavanagh

This year is Paddy Kavanagh's 100th anniversary, for my money he is the best Irish poet, ever. Sorry W.B, but your high fallutin' hibernian stuff was great an all, but I'll take his earthier stuff any day. Seamus Heaney of course comes second, by a nose. Of course it's absolute nonsense to be rating such giants against each other in the first place - but we like what we like.

Anyhow, Kavanagh's Raglan Road, is one of my favourite love songs. The words read aloud can induce a tear, but in the mouth of a great singer it can reduce a room of hardened criminals to a quivering mess. My mother once told me it was written to a women that ditched him to become Donagh O'Malley's wife - O'Malley was at the time the Irish Minister for Education. The Limerick Leader, my home towns local newspaper confirmed this in this weeks edition. Limerick Leader - November 6th

On Raglan Road on an Autumn day
I saw her first and knew,
that her dark hair would weave a snare
that I might one day rue.
I saw the danger yet I walked
along the enchanted way.
And I said, "Let grief be a fallen leaf
at the dawning of the day."

On Grafton Street in November,
we tripped lightly along the ledge
of a deep ravine where can be seen
the worth of passions pledge.
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts
and I not making hay.
Oh, I loved too much by such, by such
is happiness blown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind,
I gave her the secret sign that's known
to the artists who have known the true
gods of sound and stone.
And word and tint I did not stint
for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her dark hair,
like clouds over fields of May.

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet
I see her walking now,
away from me so hurriedly.
My reason must allow,
that I had ruled, not as I should.
A creature made of clay.
When the angel woos the clay,
he'll lose his wings at the dawn of day.

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