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March 14, 2018

#Read Ireland Patrick Kavanagh (poem)

by N@ncy

Writer: Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967)
Poem: Inniskeen Road: July Evening
Published: 1929-1938


Notes:    Kavanaugh uses the structure of an English Sonnet

14 lines
structure: 3 quatrains (4 lines) and couplet (2 lines)
rhyme pattern: abab-cdcd-efef-gg
9th line:  the ‘volta’ or turn  indicates a change in tone, mood
Couplet: summarizes the theme


  1. Inniskeen Road: July Evening
  2. …it is a love poem to a place .
  3. The title contains the name of place and time.
  4. This is which all-important in the world of Kavanagh.
  5. Inniskeen is the poet’s birthplace and home for more than 30 years.


  1. These are the contrasts in first stanza.
  2. First four lines:  Billy Brennan’s barn dance is bubbling with life.
  3. Second four lines: the roads are silent.…everyone is at the dance.


  1. These are the similarities  in  second stanza.
  2. Selkirk ‘ knew the plight of being king …”
  3. Selkirk is king of his island
  4. Kavanagh is king of Inniskeen Road.
  5. Alexander Selkirk was a famous Scottish
  6. Royal Navy officier.
  7. He spent 4 yrs  a castaway on a South Pacific Island!!
  8. Kavanaugh likens his loneliness
  9. on  Inniskeen Rodad  to that of Selkirk on the island.
  10. Solitude:
  11. solitude of the ROADsolitude of the POET.


Poem:   Inniskeen Road: July Evening

The bicycles go by in twos and threes -         
There's a dance in Billy Brennan's barn tonight,
And there's the half-talk code of mysteries
And the wink-and-elbow language of delight.
Half-past eight and there is not a spot          
Upon a mile of road, no shadow thrown
That might turn out a man or woman, not
A footfall tapping secrecies of stone. 

I have what every poet hates in spite         [9th line = change of mood] 
Of all the solemn talk of contemplation.
Oh, Alexander Selkirk knew the plight
Of being king and government and nation.      [= loneliness]
A road, a mile of kingdom. I am king          [Couplet}
Of banks and stones and every blooming thing.


Read more from Ireland, poetry

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