Patrick Kavanagh


You scattered the house that I had built
From prayer and meditation
When I listened to your ingenuous lilt - 
O empty-headed brazen!

You sang to me of pretty flowers
Young women loud and merry;
Youth cannot live on ivory towers
Or granite hills of Kerry.

"Come down" you called "and play with us
Contemporary games,
Come down thou star-struck octopus,
Not virgins we, but dames.

While Love on tandem bicycles
Pursues the sunny sprites
The poet's muse runs icicles
From spiritual heights.

Come down sad man and do not be
One of the lean begetters
Of the most tragic family
In the steel womb of letters

Leave to the immutable gods
The House of Eternal Truth,
The light is on the impassionate clods
But the worm is sampling youth.

Do not heed the cry
Of the immortal birds
Men are not made to fly,
Love speaks the plainest words."

And I came down and my house came down
Stone and slate and rafter
And unhoused I wandered in Woman's town
Beggared by Woman's laughter

§ The fourth stanza is marked.
The last stanza replaces the following:
'And I for your blarney fell,
And my house came tumbling after -
Line and verse and the spell
That held my rocking laughter.'
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