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September 16, 2018


#Classic: Patrick Kavanagh Irish poet

by N@ncy

P.  Kavanagh

  • This lifelike statue of him seated on a bench
  • on the bank or the Grand Canal in Dublin.




  1. This is a poem of greater emotional complexity
  2. The tone is sombre even meditative.
  3. The poem attempts to renew in the face of experience
  4. light-hearted attitude that has disappeared.
  5. The poet Kavanagh lived in a boarding house on
  6. Raglan Road between autumn 1944 – October 1945.
  7. The poem records his unrequited romance with Hilda Moriarty,
  8. a twenty-two years old medical student at University College Dublin.
  9. Hilda was acclaimed as one of the most beautiful women in the city.
  10. Kavanagh was infatuated with her and often stalked her.
  11. From early 1945 she was desperately trying to escape his obsessive attention.

  1. One day in May 1945 Patrick and Hilda arrived at the railway station in Drumree
  2. …a couple of miles from Dunsany castle.
  3. Every May, serried ranks of bluebells nod their heads.
  4. That first image of walking through the bluebells
  5. made a profound impression on the poet.


The bluebells are withered now under the beech trees

The bluebells are withered now under the beech trees
And I am there – the ghost of myselfalone
Trying to remember a truth I once had known
Poking among the weeds on bare knees
Praying, praying poetic incantation
To call back life to that once-green plantation.

A score of grey ungrowthy stumps stand up
Like an old graveyard in my mind: Dingle, Cooleen
A shadowed corner of Saint Stephen’s Green
A noisy corner of the Country Shop
All chilly thoughts that bring no exaltation
No green leaf love to the beautiful plantation.

I dreamt it in my heart, it was not real
I should have known that love is but a season
Like spring. The flowers fade. Reason
Knows it cannot find its old ideal
And yet her breath still blows some undulation
Of leaf and flower to charm my dream plantation.


Last thoughts:

  1. I am very impressed with Kavanagh’s poetry.
  2. He did not have the posh education at Blackrock College in Dublin
  3. as did his friend Flann O’ Brian.
  4. But still Kavanagh produced some wonderful
  5. works based on his rural backround and
  6. determination to educate himself.

Read more from Classic, Ireland, poetry
4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sep 16 2018

    I love Kavanagh’s work. I read ‘In Memory of My Mother’ at my beloved Mum’s funeral.


    • Sep 16 2018

      Oh, so touching…I’ll have to read that poem and more of Kavanagh.
      In Memory of My Mother sounds like the perfect poem to break the silence of grief.
      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.


  2. Sep 17 2018

    That’s a lovely poem of his I’d never seen before. Thanks!


    • Sep 17 2018

      Thanks, Reese…I keep re-reading it and each time I
      feel the heartbreak of his unrequited love.
      He stalked Hilda…and sometimes people love too much



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