Thursday, 15 March 2012


More kicks than pence
We get from commonsense
Above its door is writ
All hope abandon. It
Is a bank will refuse a post
Dated cheque of the Holy Ghost.
Therefore I say to hell
With all reasonable
Poems in particular
We want no secular
Wisdom plodded together
By concerned fools. Gather
No moss you rolling stones
Nothing thought out atones
For no flight
In the light.
Let them wear out nerve and bone
Those who would have it that way
But in the end nothing that they
Have achieved will be in the shake up
In the final Wake Up
And I have a feeling
That through the hole in reason’s ceiling
We can fly to knowledge
Without ever going to college.

Patrick Kavanagh

Patrick Kavanagh did not go to college. He was born in the parish of Inniskeen, attended Kednaminsha National School till the age of 12, and carried on his father's trade of cobbler and small farmer on the "stony grey soil of Monaghan". At the age of 35 he left for Dublin ("the worst mistake I made in my life") where he published a long poem, "The Great Hunger", about Ireland and the harsh realities of peasant life ("locked in a stable with pigs and cows forever"), a poem that was subversive enough to gain him the attention of the police. In 1953 he developed lung cancer, but lived for another 14 years. He was awarded a pension once he was declared incurable ("like a prize each year until I die"). He married Katharine Moloney in the year of his death.