Saturday, 4 October 2008

The Farmer Poet

Following the Plough
a wood engraving by CF Tunnicliffe OBE (1901-1979)
Twisted Furrows
She walked with me yesterday
Guiding my plough
Straight from headland to headland ...
Lament with me now.
My furrow twists like falsehood
The field's length and breadth
O straight truth I cry out
But my cry is death -
She will not come again
My furrow to guide,
For I have sinned against Guidance
And my plough has lied.
She will not come again
Till my field is ploughed -
I have not gone humbly cheerful
With shoulders bowed.
Patrick Kavanagh (1904 -1967)
To A Blackbird
O pagan poet you
And I are one
In this - we lose our god
At set of sun.
And we are kindred when
The hill wind shakes
Sweet song like blossoms on
The calm green lakes.
We dream while Earth's sad children
Go slowly by
Pleading for our conversation
With the Most High.
Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967)
Patrick Kavanagh (1904 -1967) was born in the village of Inniskeen in Co Monaghan, Ireland. After spending twenty years as a young man working on the family farm, he went to Dublin in 1939. The Dublin Literary Society looked down on him as a country farmer and referred to him as "that Monaghan boy".
His first published volume of poems was The Ploughman and other poems (1936) though his best known work was perhaps The Great Hunger which was published in the early 1940s.
This post is dedicated to my good neighbour and friend Pat - and to her sister (and anam cara) Phyllis, who lives in Derry. I remember well the summer evening a few months back when we shared a bottle of wine, a few stories and laughter.
Nor must I forget to mention my mother Eileen, who grew up on an isolated farm and who knew a different Ireland.