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.