Kavanagh was born on the 21st of October 1904, in the village of Inniskeen, Co. Monaghan, Ireland. His father was a shoemaker and had a small farm of land. At the age of thirteen Kavanagh became an apprentice shoemaker. He gave it up 15 months later, admitting that he didn't make one wearable pair of boots. For the next 20 years, Kavanagh would work on the family farm before moving to Dublin in 1939.
Kavanagh's writing resulted in the publication of some poems in a local newspaper in the early 1930's. In 1939, his brother Peter, who was a Dublin based teacher, urged him to move to the city to establish himself as a writer. The Dublin Literary Society saw Kavanagh as a country ... more »
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Patrick Kavanagh Poems
On Raglan Road
On Raglan Road on 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.
In Memory Of My Mother
I do not think of you lying in the wet clay Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see You walking down a lane among the poplars On your way to the station, or happily
I have lived in important places, times When great events were decided, who owned That half a rood of rock, a no-man's land Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.
Inniskeen Road: July Evening
The bicycles go by in twos and threes - There's a dance in Billy Brennan's barn to-night, And there's the half-talk code of mysteries And the wink-and-elbow language of delight.
We have tested and tasted too much, lover- Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder. But here in the Advent-darkened room Where the dry black bread and the sugarless tea
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.
Stony Grey Soil
O stony grey soil of Monaghan The laugh from my love you thieved; You took the gay child of my passion And gave me your clod-conceived.
And sometimes I am sorry when the grass Is growing over the stones in quiet hollows And the cocksfoot leans across the rutted cart-pass That I am not the voice of country fellows
Memory of my Father
Every old man I see Reminds me of my father When he had fallen in love with death One time when sheaves were gathered.
On An Apple-Ripe September Morning
On an apple-ripe September morning Through the mist-chill fields I went With a pitch-fork on my shoulder Less for use than for devilment.
They laughed at one I loved- The triangular hill that hung Under the Big Forth. They said That I was bounded by the whitethorn hedges
My black hills have never seen the sun rising, Eternally they look north towards Armagh. Lot's wife would not be salt if she had been Incurious as my black hills that are happy
To the Man After the Harrow
Now leave the check-reins slack, The seed is flying far today - The seed like stars against the black Eternity of April clay.
Upon a bank I sat, a child made seer Of one small primrose flowering in my mind. Better than wealth it is, I said, to find One small page of Truth's manuscript made clear.
Quotationsmore quotations »
It is impossible to read the daily press without being diverted from reality. You are full of enthusiasm for the eternal veritieslife is worth living, and then out of sinful curiosity you open a...Patrick Kavanagh (1905-1967), Irish poet, author. "Signposts," Collected Prose (1967).
Actors are loved because they are unoriginal. Actors stick to their script. The unoriginal man is loved by the mediocrity because this kind of "artistic" expression is something to which the merest fi...Patrick Kavanagh (1905-1967), Irish poet, author. "Signposts," Collected Prose (1967).
''Malice is only another name for mediocrity.''Patrick Kavanagh (1905-1967), Irish poet, author. "Signposts," Collected Prose (1967).
''A sweeping statement is the only statement worth listening to. The critic without faith gives balanced opinions, usually about second-rate writers.''Patrick Kavanagh (1905-1967), Irish poet, author. "Signposts," Collected Prose (1967).
''What appears in newspapers is often new but seldom true.''Patrick Kavanagh (1905-1967), Irish poet, author. "Signposts," Collected Pruse (1967).
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
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On Raglan Road
On Raglan Road on 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 and such is happiness thrown away.
I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign...