A Christmas Childhood Poem by Patrick Kavanagh

A Christmas Childhood

One side of the potato-pits was white with frost -
How wonderful that was, how wonderful!
And when we put our ears to the paling-post
The music that came out was magical.

The light between the ricks of hay and straw
Was a hole in Heaven's gable. An apple tree
With its December-glinting fruit we saw -
O you, Eve, were the world that tempted me.

To eat the knowledge that grew in clay
And death the germ within it! Now and then
I can remember something of the gay
Garden that was childhood's. Again.

The tracks of cattle to a drinking-place,
A green stone lying sideways in a ditch,
Or any common sight, the transfigured face
Of a beauty that the world did not touch.

My father played the melodion
Outside at our gate;
There were stars in the morning east
And they danced to his music.

Across the wild bogs his melodion called
To Lennons and Callans.
As I pulled on my trousers in a hurry
I knew some strange thing had happened.

Outside in the cow-house my mother
Made the music of milking;
The light of her stable-lamp was a star
And the frost of Bethlehem made it twinkle.

A water-hen screeched in the bog,
Mass-going feet
Crunched the wafer-ice on the pot-holes,
Somebody wistfully twisted the bellows wheel.

My child poet picked out the letters
On the grey stone,
In silver the wonder of a Christmas townland,
The winking glitter of a frosty dawn.

Cassiopeia was over
Cassidy's hanging hill,
I looked and three whin bushes rode across
The horizon — the Three Wise Kings.

And old man passing said:
‘Can't he make it talk -
The melodion.' I hid in the doorway
And tightened the belt of my box-pleated coat.

I nicked six nicks on the door-post
With my penknife's big blade -
there was a little one for cutting tobacco.
And I was six Christmases of age.

My father played the melodion,
My mother milked the cows,
And I had a prayer like a white rose pinned
On the Virgin Mary's blouse.

Monday, December 15, 2014
Topic(s) of this poem: christmas
Sfgjkgf 19 February 2018

Shet really bad.

2 0 Reply
Philip Fitzpatrick 22 January 2022

Notice the unwarranted pause at the end of each line which distorts the sense of each phrase

0 0 Reply
Philip Fitzpatrick 22 January 2022

I believe it is being resale digitally…

0 0 Reply
Austin Lysaght 24 December 2021

Reader seems to have no understanding of what she is reading. Unable to pronounce 'melodeon.n'

0 0 Reply
FERGUS RYAN 24 December 2021

Melodeon is misspelt several times as ‘melodeon'.

0 0 Reply
Bob Dowd 20 December 2020

This person has zero conception of pronunciation or how to read poetry.

1 0 Reply
UR mom 12 January 2022

Its a animated voice

0 0 Reply
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Patrick Kavanagh

Patrick Kavanagh

County Monaghan
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