Patrick Kavanagh


Ask no questions fools have queried
Intellect child-curiously,
Vaguely, impertinent:
     What is Time?
     The Space of life?
     And do the Lower Animals imagine immortality?

There are no chinks in Eternity's old door
But some place high up the Wall is a window
(Youth idea)
Window Love which throws a gleam like dream
On the Dark of Arrival.

The lofts of Reason are up stone stairs,
Idea-cobwebbed stairs.
The climbers mount patiently
To gaze at the artificial stars

High Alter! [sic]
An Alter is a bloody stone slab
In Rome or Africa.
There are no priests of living,
Only death and damnation are votaried.

Gluttons eat the flesh of Peace,
Gluttons drink
The wine of Christ in brothels
And the flesh and the wine are disease.

There was a man once
Who fasted
For forty days existed on prayer and water
Yet he saw nothing.
He was shut out
And was no more spirit-exultant than a mangy lout.

There was a young fellow who defied
Biological knowing 
And yet uttered
The Seven Incantations of the Ghost-
In wind of wonder the Church candle-light
And the High Host.

§ This is a variant of the poem in To Anna Quinn. There are minor differences in lines four and nine.
The poem is marked: ‘1930 Unpublished’.

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