Patrick Kavanagh

A Christmas Childhood

My father played the melodion Outside at our gate; There were stars in the morning east; And they danced to his music. Across the wild bogs his melodion called To Lennons and Callans. As I pulled on my trousers in a hurry I knew some strange thing had happened. Outside in the cow-house my mother Made the music of milking; The light of her stable-lamp was a star And the frost of Bethlehem made it twinkle. A water-hen screeched in the bog, mass-going feet Crunched the wafer-ice on the pot-holes, Somebody wistfully twisted the bellows wheel. My child poet picked out the letters On the grey stone, In silver the wonder of a Christmas townland, The winking glitter of a frosty dawn. Cassiopeia was over Cassidy's hanging hill, I looked and three whin bushes rode across the horizon - the Three Wise Kings. An old man passing said: "Can't he make it talk" - The melodion, I hid in the doorway And tightened the belt of my box-pleated coat. I nicked six nicks on the door-post With my penknife's big blade - There was a little one for cutting tobacco. And I was six Christmases of age. My father played the melodion, My mother milked the cows, And I had a prayer like a white rose pinned on the Virgin Mary's blouse.

Comment Section just now

Feel free to be first to leave comment.

8/2200 - 0