Patrick Kavanagh


If I should quarry all that rock of existence,
Labouring till my mind would be worn like an old pick
Sharp and exquisite as a needle
I might find one speck of golden truth
To outweigh the lost rushes of a poet's youth.
It is a discouraging mountain I face
And my faith is ill-tempered.
What if I should die having found
Only massive mortality in the stones I displace!
Genius is a blind instinct that cannot see
The hugeness of the task
Or the heap of rubbish piled wearily.
He only knows that the time-keeper's watch runs fast,
And with the delicate tools of knowledge
Delves so the priesthood of the sun
May have golden vessels on their altars
When genius is gone.

Blind me O Master!
For I see with the eyes of cowardice,
Blind me O Master Quarryman!
Truth state your price!
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