Stoney Grey Soil
O stony grew soil of Monaghan The laugh from my love you thieved You took the gay child of my passion And gave me your clod-conceived. You clogged the feet of my boyhood and I believed that my stumble Had the poise and stride of Apollo And his voice my thick-tongued mumble. You told me the plough was immortal O green-life-conquering plough! Your mandril strained, your coulter blunted In the smooth lea-field of my brow. You sang on steaming dunghills A song of cowards' brood, You perfumed my clothes with weasel itch, You fed me on swinish food. You flung a ditch on my vision Of beauty love and truth. O stony grey soil of Monaghan You burgled my bank of youth! Lost the long hours of pleasure All the women that love young men O can I still stroke the monster's back Or write with unpoisioned pen His name in these lonely verses Or mention the dark fields where The first gay flight of my lyric Got caught in a peasant's prayer. Mullahinsha, Drummeril, Black Shanco-- Wherever I turn I see In the stony grey soil of Monaghan Dead loves that were born for me.
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 Winder 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 they 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 please 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.
Memory Of My Father
Ever old man I see Reminds me of my father When he had fallen in love with death One time when sheaves were gathered. That man I saw in Gardner Street Stumble on the kerb was one, He stared at me half-eyed, I might have been his son. And I remember the musician Faltering over his fiddle In Bayswater, London He too set me the riddle. Every old man I see In october-coloured weather Seems to say to me : "I was once your father."
Iniskeen Road : July Evening
The bicycles go by in twos and threes-- There's a dance in Billy Brennan's barn to-night, 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 Of all the solemn talk of contemplation Oh, Alexander Selkirk knew the plight Of being king and government and nation. A road, a mile of kingdom, I am king Of banks and stones and every blooming thing.
Canal Bank Walk
Leafy-with-love banks and the green waters of the canal Pouring redemption for me, that I do The will of God, wallow in the habitual the banal Grow with nature again as before I grew. he bright stick trapped,the breeze adding a third Party to the couple kissing on an old seat, And a bird gathering materials for the nest for the Word Eloquently new and abandoned to its delirious beat. O unworn world enrapture me, enrapture me in a web Of fabulous grass and eternal voices by a beech, Feed the gaping need of my senses, give me ad lib To pray unselfconsciously with overflowing speech For this soul needs to be honoured with a new dress woven From green and blue things and arguments that cannot be proven.
Lines Written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin
"Erected to the Memory of Mrs. Dermot O'Brien" O commemorate me where there is water, Canal water preferably, so stilly Greeny at the heart of summer, Brother Commemorate me thus beautifully. Where by a lock Niagariously roars The falls for those who sit in the tremendous silence Of mid-July. No one will speak in prose Who finds his way to these Parnassian islands A swan goes by head low with many apologies. Fantastic light looks through the eyes of bridges And look! a barge comes bringing from Athy And other far-flung towns mythologies. O commemorate me with no hero-courageous Tomb--just a canal-bank seat for the passer-by.