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Poetry for Patrick’s Day: Epic by Patrick Kavanagh

March 12, 2013

I AM reading this poem out tomorrow at a service of celebration of the Celtic nation feast days coming up.


I have lived in important places, times

When great events were decided: who owned

That half a rood of rock, a no-man’s land

Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.


I heard the Duffys shouting “Damn your soul”

And old McCabe stripped to the waist, seen

Step the plot defying blue cast-steel –

“Here is the march along these iron stones.”


That was the year of the Munich bother. Which

Was most important? I inclined

To lose my faith in Ballyrush and Gortin

Till Homer’s ghost came whispering to my mind.

He said: I made the Iliad from such

A local row. Gods make their own importance.

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