Advent Poem by Patrick Kavanagh


Rating: 3.5

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
Of penance will charm back the luxury
Of a child's soul, we'll return to Doom
The knowledge we stole but could not use.

And the newness that was in every stale thing
When we looked at it as children: the spirit-shocking
Wonder in a black slanting Ulster hill
Or the prophetic astonishment in the tedious talking
Of an old fool will awake for us and bring
You and me to the yard gate to watch the whins
And the bog-holes, cart-tracks, old stables where Time begins.

O after Christmas we'll have no need to go searching
For the difference that sets an old phrase burning-
We'll hear it in the whispered argument of a churning
Or in the streets where the village boys are lurching.
And we'll hear it among decent men too
Who barrow dung in gardens under trees,
Wherever life pours ordinary plenty.
Won't we be rich, my love and I, and
God we shall not ask for reason's payment,
The why of heart-breaking strangeness in dreeping hedges
Nor analyse God's breath in common statement.
We have thrown into the dust-bin the clay-minted wages
Of pleasure, knowledge and the conscious hour-
And Christ comes with a January flower.

Submitted by Andrew Mayers

Adrian Mullane 14 June 2010

Read this for the 1st time when I at about 15 years old. I've never forgotten it so I suppose it made an impression :) Absolutely one of my favourite poems of all time.

10 6 Reply
Jim Behan 12 December 2011

The word 'please' omitted from the eighth line of final verse. Unfortunate: -(

8 8 Reply
James Cadden 30 July 2009

Read this poem a lietime and you will never understand the imagery to make the poem come to life you need trodded on the clay and looked oer the hills with unassuming eyes filled with wonder with the awe of a child looking through heaven's gable.

9 6 Reply
Roisin Reilly 26 May 2009

Are there any Patrick Kavanagh Poems /Prose on audio books or cds?

4 7 Reply
Josh Gilbert 16 April 2024

All my homes love English Chicos

1 0 Reply
Josh Gilbert 16 April 2024

mannnnn dis wack dawg

1 0 Reply
You mum 12 September 2022

Great poem. Wow

0 1 Reply
Liam Doherty 01 December 2020

Classic poem on Advent. I particularly like the lines in the first verse " But here in the Advent-darkened room, where the dry black bread and the sugarless tea of penance will charm back the luxury of a child's sour......"

4 1 Reply
Siobhan Loughrey 05 October 2020

Magical . Oh to bering back that magic childhood feeling. Love it.

2 1 Reply
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