Irish Stew

by Patrick Kavanagh

Patrick Kavanagh

Our ancient civilization – and –
This Christian State of Ireland!

He said to open his oration
With protective incantation.

Then, all in the Name of God,
He turned on me a beaming broad

Face that twitched with a restive hate,
And this is what that man did state:

You’re far too great a genius to
Talk of steak and onions or a stew,

Luxury would ruin your sublime
Imagination in no time.

And domesticity, wife, house, car,
We want you always as you are.

Such things don’t fit into the scheme
Of one who dreams the poet’s dream.

Your wildness is your great attraction,
You could not be a man of action.

Now, you’ll never have to worry how to live – A man who has so much to

My cousin dabbles in verse, but he
Has not your spark of poetry;

Unlike you he has not nobly strained –
But in economics he is trained;

He has a politician’s mind
To deal with an ugly world designed;

Knows how to handle you great men,
Artists and masters of the pen,

Can run an office, plan a series
Of lectures for the Cork O’Learys

Or Jesuits of Clongowes College
Because he’s got the practical knowledge;

And that is why he has been sent
To travel on the Continent,

To bring back the secret of great arts
To Kerry and remoter parts,

To spread in Naas and Clonakilty
News of Gigli and R. M. Rilke.

Our last art emissary whored
And that’s one reason we can’t afford

To risk an important man like you
In the dangerous European stew.

Last updated April 02, 2023