Patrick Kavanagh

Address to an Old Wooden Gate

Battered by time and weather, scarcely fit For firewood; there’s not a single bit Of paint to hide those wrinkles, and such scringes Break hoarsely on the silence – rusty hinges: A barbed wire clasp around one withered arm Replaces the old latch, with evil charm. That poplar tree you hang upon is rotten, And all its early loveliness forgotten. This gap ere long must find another sentry If the cows are not to roam the open country. They’ll laugh at you, Old Wooden Gate, they’ll push Your limbs asunder, soon, into the slush. Then I will lean upon your top no more To muse, and dream of pebbles on a shore, Or watch the fairy-columned turf-smoke rise From white-washed cottage chimneys heaven-wise. Here have I kept fair tryst, and kept it true, When we were lovers all, and you were new; And many a time I’ve seen the laughing-eyed Schoolchildren, on your trusty back astride. But Time’s long silver hand has touched our brows, And I’m the scorned of women – you of cows. How can I love the iron gates which guard The fields of wealthy farmers? They are hard, Unlovely things, a-swing on concrete piers – Their finger-tips are pointed like old spears. But you and I are kindred, Ruined Gate, For both of us have met the self-same fate.

Comment Section just now

Feel free to be first to leave comment.

8/2200 - 0