Monday, February 18, 2013


Surely you would not ask me to have known

Only the passion of primrose banks in May

Which are merely a point of departure for the play

And yearning poignancy when on their own.

Yet when all is said and done a considerable

Portion of living is found in inanimate

Nature, and a man need not feel miserable

If fate should have decided on this plan of it.

Then there is always the passing gift of affection

Tossed from the windows of high charity

In the office girl and civil servant section

And these are no despisable commodity.

So be reposed and praise, praise praise

The way it happened and the way it is.


(Air : The Dawning of The Day)

On Raglan Road of an autumn day I met 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 the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of
       passion's pledge,

The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making
       hay —

O I loved too much and by such by such is happiness
      thrown 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 own dark hair like
      clouds over fields of May.

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her
      walking now

And away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow

That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of
      clay —

When the angel wooes the clay he'd lose his wings at
      the dawn of day.


Patrick Kanvanagh
Collected Poems
(Martin Brian & O'Keeffe 1977)