Friday, February 10, 2017

Poetry Friday: A Poem I Wish I'd Written

Patrick Kavanaugh with a ....potato?

Here is one of my favorite poems.  If I'd written it, I'd die happy. Of course, I think I'll die happy even though I didn't write it. But I love sentences that begin with "If..." and end with "I'd die happy." So many possibilities!

The poem, an ars poetica if you read it carefully, is by the wonderful Irish poet, Patrick Kavanagh. Just look at the masterful way he names places and objects. Dazzling.

[The Poetry Friday round-up this week is being hosted by Katie at The Logonauts. When you've read this poem, head over there to see what other people have posted.]

Kerr's Ass

We borrowed the loan of Kerr's ass
To go to Dundalk with butter,
Brought him home the evening before the market
And exile that night in Mucker.

We heeled up the cart before the door,
We took the harness inside —
The straw-stuffed straddle, the broken breeching
With bits of bull-wire tied;

The winkers that had no choke-band,
The collar and the reins . . . 
In Ealing Broadway, London Town
I name their several names

Until a world comes to life —
Morning, the silent bog,
And the God of imagination waking
In a Mucker fog. 


  1. Hi Julie, I also love the possibility contained in those "if" and "die happy" words. :) And that final image of the God of imagination waking in a Mucker fog is apt and beautiful. Thank you for sharing. xo

  2. Each time I read this poem and come to the line about imagination and Mucker fog, I'm thrilled. Glad you enjoed the poem, too, Irene.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Julie. I love it: the images of poverty, of deprivation and then the glorious last one ringing with hope--"And the God of imagination waking in a Mucker fog."

  4. Thank you for sharing. Reading this poem is like entering a journey to another world.

  5. Those last two lines are fabulous. I feel like I need a dictionary to fully grasp the others. So much language, a whole way of life, is vanishing.

  6. Nice. Many unfamiliar words, but it didn't matter because they sounded so good!

  7. I was a horse person long ago, now have a friend with horses and a stable. She will love the thought of heaven in a "mucker fog." New to me, Julie. Thank you!

  8. A whole world comes to life by the naming of its particulars. Yup.