Patrick Kavanagh

(1904 - 1967 / County Monaghan)

In Memory Of My Mother


I do not think of you lying in the wet clay
Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see
You walking down a lane among the poplars
On your way to the station, or happily

Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday -
You meet me and you say:
'Don't forget to see about the cattle - '
Among your earthiest words the angels stray.

And I think of you walking along a headland
Of green oats in June,
So full of repose, so rich with life -
And I see us meeting at the end of a town

On a fair day by accident, after
The bargains are all made and we can walk
Together through the shops and stalls and markets
Free in the oriental streets of thought.

O you are not lying in the wet clay,
For it is a harvest evening now and we
Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight
And you smile up at us - eternally.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Hoover Pig (2/25/2014 1:21:00 PM)

    Having grown up in the very market town of which he writes, this poem seems to hold me in an intense melancholic spell. I too see my mother walking there through summer stalls talking of the day to day banalities. But to the poets mind these are not banalities, they are jewel encrusted stepping stones to the inevitable terminus of the grave. (Report) Reply

  • Hoover Pig (2/25/2014 1:20:00 PM)

    Having grown up in the market town of which he writes, this poem holds me in an intense melancholic spell. I too see my mother walking there through summer stalls, while the cattle sales brought the street to a stand still, while she spoke of the day to day banalities. But to the poet's mind these are not banalities, they are the jewel encrusted stepping stones to the inevitable terminus of the grave. (Report) Reply

  • Andrew Hoellering (2/8/2009 4:14:00 AM)

    If you enjoyed this poem, I think that you will also love George Barker's poem 'Sonnet to My Mother' which concludes with the amazing lines:

    And so I send o all my faith and all my love to tell her
    That she will move from mourning into morning.

    The sonnet is available on line, thanks to google. (Report) Reply

  • Reei Tioti (9/17/2007 5:01:00 AM)

    I love your poem..It reminds me of my loving mum who passed away sometimes in March 2004...thanks for the wonderful poem (Report) Reply

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