Patrick Kavanagh’s Collected Poems and Cinnamon Rolls

“The only true teaching / Subsists in watching / Things moving or just colour / Without comment from the scholar” – ‘Is’

I am in the throes of writing my Masters dissertation on Patrick Kavanagh. I have time for no one else. This blog is named after one of his poem’s for goodness sake. On Saturday I sat beside his statue on the banks of Dublin’s Grand Canal and willed his spirit to “encapture me in a web / Of fabulous grasses and eternal voices by a beach” (‘Canal Bank Walk’). I also begged his awkward, long-limbed, god-like sculpture to send some good karmic vibes my way so that I might survive the coming days in cavernous libraries.

Kavanagh was born in County Monaghan in 1904. He left his rural home in his thirties and moved to  Dublin. Shabbily dressed and often controversial in his statements, he was hard-up for most of his life. Many people considered him uncouth. He was a genius and a rebel through and through. His verses are proof of great sensitivity and insight.

I love Kavanagh’s poetry. ‘Stony Grey Soil’ hypnotised me as a child, its rhythm lulling me into a state of imaginative bliss. ‘Inniskeen Road: July Evening’ captures the heaven of a summer night. The poem is tactfully undercut by the protagonist’s loneliness and alienation within familiar surroundings. Kavanagh’s later poems, his Canal Bank pieces, are pensive and beautiful. ‘On Raglan Road’ is intensely romantic. In a nutshell, Kavanagh is a fascinating and versatile writer.

In an attempt at indulging my latest obsession with cinnamon rolls, I visited Oxmantown (named after the area to which the Vikings were exiled following the Norman invasion of Dublin), a small and inviting café in D7. They do a pretty sweet deal (both literally and figuratively) of coffee and a cinnamon roll for 3.50€. Rarely do I feel as happy as on a grey morning sitting at a window in solitude, watching the urban tapestry unravel, cup of black coffee in hand and sticky pastry between teeth.

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