Patrick Kavanagh

(1904 - 1967 / County Monaghan)

Epic


I have lived in important places, times
When great events were decided, who owned
That half a rood of rock, a no-man's land
Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.
I heard the Duffys shouting "Damn your soul!"
And old McCabe stripped to the waist, seen
Step the plot defying blue cast-steel -
"Here is the march along these iron stones."
That was the year of the Munich bother. Which
Was more important? I inclined
To lose my faith in Ballyrush and Gortin
Till Homer's ghost came whispering to my mind.
He said: I made the Iliad from such
A local row. Gods make their own importance.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Mark Carolan (12/30/2009 8:09:00 AM)

    Indeed 'Gods do make their own importance'. This poem perfectly capures the microcosim whitin the macrocosim. After all we are all our own gods.
    I knew the Duffy's. They damned my soul too. (Report) Reply

  • Andrew Hoellering (2/8/2009 4:48:00 AM)

    Yes, 'the Munich bother' indicates the farmers' attitude to world- shaking affairs compared to their own! But the poet's snap judgement is then tempered by his knowledge of the classics; these men can also be viewed as local gods, who 'make their own judgement.'

    Mutual forgiveness of each vice
    Such are the gates of paradise
    (William Blake)

    A fine poem that is also an exercise in tolerance. (Report) Reply

  • Doreen Dillon (12/28/2008 8:33:00 AM)

    this poem was written by P K. to explain how important it was to the people esp from a country area in old ireland, the importance of that small bit of land, and the row that mite take place between two neighbours over it. there might be a war going on in europe or whereever but the row over the small plot of land in monaghan had more significance than world war 2 to the people in that country area (Report) Reply

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