Patrick Kavanagh

Irish Stew

Our ancient civilization – and – This Christian State of Ireland! He said to open his oration With protective incantation. Then, all in the Name of God, He turned on me a beaming broad Face that twitched with a restive hate, And this is what that man did state: You’re far too great a genius to Talk of steak and onions or a stew, Luxury would ruin your sublime Imagination in no time. And domesticity, wife, house, car, We want you always as you are. Such things don’t fit into the scheme Of one who dreams the poet’s dream. Your wildness is your great attraction, You could not be a man of action. Now, you’ll never have to worry how to live – A man who has so much to give. My cousin dabbles in verse, but he Has not your spark of poetry; Unlike you he has not nobly strained – But in economics he is trained; He has a politician’s mind To deal with an ugly world designed; Knows how to handle you great men, Artists and masters of the pen, Can run an office, plan a series Of lectures for the Cork O’Learys Or Jesuits of Clongowes College Because he’s got the practical knowledge; And that is why he has been sent To travel on the Continent, To bring back the secret of great arts To Kerry and remoter parts, To spread in Naas and Clonakilty News of Gigli and R. M. Rilke. Our last art emissary whored And that’s one reason we can’t afford To risk an important man like you In the dangerous European stew.

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