Patrick Kavanagh

Untitled (The scene is a country lane)

The scene is a country lane
With massed banks of primroses and violets
A thick thorn hedge behind,
White and red butterflies in the air
And midges filling the mouth of a low culvert.
It is a scene that makes us sad
As we try to hold it in our memories,
We should be like children and not try to posess [sic] it
And that way it will be ours forever.
On the grass margin of this country lane
The hero of the play who is also the author
Sits waiting for something to happen;
He knows exactly what he wants to happen
And how it should happen
And he is convinced that it can happen
That it is no mere illusive ideal.
That belief is the basis of tragedy
Waiting for this other life
Which eventually is Eternal Life.

A girl comes up,
Daughter is a small-town merchant, perfect type
Of the best natural selection, tall, full-bosomed - 
Imagination cloistered in morality.
He speaks to her, comments upon the weather.
He knows she fits the pattern to a detail;
She has the self-sacrificing courage of women
Who are less materialistic than is sometimes said.

He does not act, he is imprisoned
In the chamber of reflection.
He must go out and take an interest in people
And not be the central character of his play.
If what happens to him is also to be important
It must be seen as the importance of others.
Bring in the girl and let her speak.
Scroll to Top