Patrick Kavanagh

Jim Larkin

Not with public words now can his greatness Be told to the children, for he was more Than a labour-agitating orator – The flashing flaming sword merely bore witness To the coming of the dawn. ‘Awake and look! The flowers are growing for you, and wonderful trees, And beyond are not the serf’s grey docks, but seas – Excitement out of the creator’s poetry book. When the Full Moon’s in the River the ghost of bread Must not haunt all your weary wanderings home. The ships that were dark galleys can become Pine forests under the winter’s starry plough And the brown gantries will be the lifted hand Of man the dreamer whom the gods endow.’ And thus I hear Jim Larkin shout above The crowd who wanted to turn aside From Reality coming to free them. Terrified, They hid in the clouds of dope and would not move. They ate the opium of the murderer’s story In the Sunday newspapers; they stood to stare Not at a blackbird, but at a millionaire Whose horses ran for serfdom’s greater glory. And Tyranny trampled them in Dublin’s gutter, Until Larkin came along and cried The call of Freedom and the call of Pride, And Slavery crept to its hands and knees, And Nineteen Thirteen cheered from out the utter Degradation of their miseries.

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