Patrick Kavanagh

(1904 - 1967 / County Monaghan)

On Raglan Road


On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion's pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay -
O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that's known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay -
When the angel woos the clay he'd lose his wings at the dawn of day.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Oberyn Martell (5/11/2014 2:41:00 AM)

    You can Check outOn Raglan Road Meav''on Youtube, Meav sang it fabulously, she also sang a song called Glimmering Girl which takes Yeats’The Song of Wandeing Aengus as lyrics. (Report) Reply

  • Pete Stingley (4/9/2014 8:32:00 PM)

    The real beauty of this piece is heard in the voice of Van Morrison and Loreena Mckinnett. Loreena's is the slightly more technically accurate, Van Morrison's the more passionate. They're both Celtic, of course. (Report) Reply

  • Liz Mannion (5/5/2013 10:37:00 AM)

    It was first published as a poem in The Irish Press on 3 October 1946 under the title Dark Haired Miriam Ran Away. Peter Kavanagh, Patrick's brother, said that it was written about Patrick's girlfriend Hilda but to avoid embarrassment he used the name of my girlfriend in the title.] Her real name was Dr. Hilda Moriarty who later married Donogh O'Malley, the Irish Minister for Health. Her son is the actor Daragh O'Malley
    In 1987, Hilda Moriarty was interviewed by the Irish broadcaster RTÉ for a documentary about Kavanagh called Gentle Tiger. In the interview, she said one of the main reasons for the failure of their relationship was that there was a wide age gap between them. She was only 22, whereas he was 40. Dr. Moriarty also described how Raglan Road came to be written. Kavanagh had described himself as the peasant poet but she was not impressed and teased him for writing about mundane things such as vegetables. She said he should write about something else so he agreed to do so. According to Dr. Moriarty, he then went away and wrote Raglan Road. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Katherine Hunter (1/5/2013 4:32:00 PM)

    Note: first published as a poem in The Irish Press on 3 October 1946 under the title 'Dark Haired Miriam Ran Away'. - - I love this song. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Sally G (7/16/2011 9:38:00 AM)

    Aaron Hurley! - 'creature made of clay' means 'human' - It is not insulting. Clay is the stuff God made man outo f in the Bible. The word clay in this context has been used for centuries. Angels are not made of clay, but humans are 'but made of clay'. You might think of this has one placing an ideal of perfection up one whi is only human - I think everyone has had this experience at one time or another where we are let down by humans not angels. Hope that helps! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Jack Mcdaid (9/12/2010 8:05:00 PM)

    This is my favorite poem of all time. My favorite version of the song is by Woody Lissauer (Self Titled CD) , it is more of a soft rock version, with a captivating syncopated beat, it is one of my favorite songs of all time as well! Two other versions of this song I have heard that I like a lot are 1) by Carmina (On a Quiet Street, Live in Ireland): and even more so 2) by Fair Isle Folk (25 Most Requested Irish Ballads, Vol I) . I have heard Luke Kelly's version, and although I know it is much loved, I find his voice to be too harsh for this song which I think requires a more delicate handling, considering the lyrics convey such pain. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Pamela Stewart (3/10/2010 1:10:00 PM)

    First time I heard this beautiful poem, it was being sung by one of my favorite artists, Jesse Ferguson. (Youtube him as BardofCornwall...he's amazing) . It got me thinking about the lyrics and as I read them my heart responded as only someone who has been through similar happenings could. It is also fitting that Mr. Kavanagh would be able to write such a heartfelt piece. This shows just how big of a heart he had. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Jade Murphy (3/9/2010 11:43:00 AM)

    I have to say, this is my favourite poem too. Even though written by a male, and from a male perspective, i find it to be true for us women too. Particularly the last line of the second verse. I find that when i lend my heart to people, it gets used and thrown away like it is insignificant.
    I loved luke kelly's version of this, sinead o connors was good, but was ruined by not having the second verse in there. Thank you Patrick Kavanagh xx (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Eddie Larkin (12/28/2008 7:46:00 PM)

    This is my ALL-TIME favourite poem, and also one of my favourite songs. Luke Kelly's version is the absolute best but Peter Rowan's Country and Sinead O'Connor's versions are very good too... although, disappointingly, O'Connor's is missing the second verse. Both can be found on YouTube. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Michael Walsh (4/20/2008 9:53:00 PM)

    Canadian singer Loreena McKennitt does an incredible job with this poem 'On Raglan Road' in her new music CD (& DVD) 'Nights from the Alhambra' filmed on location n Spain. This dame sings like a thrush and I mean this nicely. If one buys only one CD every year, this would be it. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Ian Curtis (2/20/2006 10:32:00 AM)

    Kavanagh was drinking with Luke Kelly in the Bailey in Dublin (in 66 I think) and was asked to recite a poem, Raglan Road. He did and turned to Luke and said 'I have a song for you, you should sing Raglan Road' (in Lukes own words) . And so he did (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Rachel Hart (3/21/2005 5:09:00 AM)

    I have information on the background to this but Frank doesn't allow emails to be sent to him and it's too long to post here. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Frank Reynolds (3/11/2005 8:29:00 AM)

    i like to sing this at my local folk club. Is there any information on the provenance or background to this poem. it would be useful to know when introducing the song to the audience. (Report) Reply

Read all 15 comments »

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