Monday, 3 March 2008

P-i-R's book of the month

Almost everybody enjoys recommending a good book. And with his 'book of the month' feature Poet-in-Residence is no exception. This month's book tip is the humorous and authentic autobiography by one of Ireland's favourite poets, 'The Green Fool' from Patrick Kavanagh (Penguin Classics).
The book turns on the story of how Kavanagh walked halfway across Ireland and back because he wanted to be a poet. It is packed with lovely Irish tales and yarns. Poet-in-residence found himself laughing out loud, and wiping away the tears...and this was only on the bus!
Here's a poem of Kavanagh's purloined 'for educational purposes' from Crotty's anthology of Modern Irish Poetry (Blackstaff) to set the scene; life in the village of Mucker, a place where time hardly matters - the birthplace of Patrick Kavanagh.

Kerr's Ass

We borrowed the loan of Kerr's big ass
To go to Dundalk with butter,
Brought him home the evening before the market
An exile that night in Mucker.

We heeled up the cart before the door
We took the harness inside -
The straw-stuffed straddle, the broken breeching
With bits of bull-wire tied;

The winkers that had no choke-band,
the collar and the reins...
In Ealing Broadway, London Town
I name their several names

Until a world comes to life -
Morning, the silent bog,
And the God of imagination waking
in a Mucker fog.

Patrick Kavanagh (1904 - 67)


  1. great stuff one of my favourite folk-songs is Kavanagh's Raglan Road there's even a YOU-TUBE of himself singing it

  2. Thanks, John. By the way, I think the Green Fool is much better than his other book Tarry Flynn.


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