Patrick Kavanagh

Old Men of Ireland

The Others dance while they on low stools sit,
Old men for whom Imagination lit
The Lamp of Dreaming once. Their eyes remember
Only the light of evenings September
That nickel-plated the stubble paths among
Straight wheaten stooks or rows of steaming dung.

The old men muse o'er bargains that were made
In houses and in women, when the trade
Of Ireland was a gypsie's caravan
Merry from town to town with beast and man.

The old men sit on ancient log-made stools
In a dim place - four tragic splendid fools.

§ Alternative words are written in pencil:
Line 6, 'Tall' for 'Straight'.
Line 7, 'on' for 'o'er'.
Line 9, 'tinker's' for 'gypsie's'.
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