The Bright Stick Trapped

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Patrick Kavanagh Memorial by artist John Coll, Grand Canal (north bank), Dublin, Image credit Julie Corcoran ©2015

On this, the anniversary of the Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh’s death (1904-1967), I thought I’d share a photograph I took a couple of weeks ago at one of the memorial pieces dedicated to his memory.

My Leaving Cert English teacher’s much loved Kavanagh quote; ‘The bright stick trapped’ from his poem, Canal Bank Walk, was an image, she explained, that conveyed the beauty in the mundane; the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Her enlightening words stuck in my mind, like the bright stick trapped in Kavanagh’s redemptive canal waters.

For that reason, ‘Canal Bank Walk’ has to be one of my favourite Kavanagh poems.

Canal Bank Walk

Leafy-with-love banks and the green waters of the canal

Pouring redemption for me, that I do

The will of God, wallow in the habitual, the banal,

Grow with nature again as before I grew.

The bright stick trapped, the breeze adding a third

Party to the couple kissing on an old seat,

And a bird gathering materials for the nest for the Word,

Eloquently new and abandoned to its delirious beat.

O unworn world enrapture me, enrapture me in a web

Of fabulous grass and eternal voices by a beech,

Feed the gaping need of my senses, give me ad lib

To pray unselfconsciously with overflowing speech,

For this soul needs to be honoured with a new dress woven

From green and blue things and arguments that cannot be proven. 

3 thoughts on “The Bright Stick Trapped

  1. Brilliant photo of the memorial; I loved that you didn’t include the entire sculpture, that would have been too easy; your photo captures the essence of Kavanagh as an everyman, in the sense that we are all more than we seem. Striking.

  2. Great shot, from a very different angle and I love that poem, too. My son lives in Crumlin and loves to walk along the canal then sit and read a book on one of those benches, weather permitting.

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