(National Poetry Month, Day 16)
Patrick Kavanagh, a farmer-turned-poet of mid-20th century Ireland, created some really remarkable verse. His poetry has a refreshing quality. It’s unpretentious, exuberant, and earthy; it shows keen awareness of the physical experience of life on earth and of the Divine light that shines through even the most opaque substances. The bifocal view of the earthly and the divine, which I think characterizes much of Irish literature, is exemplified exquisitely in Kavanagh’s poetry.
Is it any wonder that Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney named Kavanagh as one of his strong influences?
You be the judge.
By Patrick Kavanagh
Green, blue, yellow and red – God is down in the swamps and marshes,
Sensational as April and almost incredible the flowering of our catharsis.
A humble scene in a backward place
Where no one important ever looked;
The raving flowers looked up in the face
Of the One and the Endless, the Mind that has baulked
The profoundest of mortals. A primrose, a violet,
A violent wild iris – but mostly anonymous performers,
Yet an important occasion as the Muse at her toilet
Prepared to inform the local farmers
That beautiful, beautiful, beautiful God
Was breathing His love by a cut-away bog.