On Reading a Book on Common Wild Flowers

by Patrick Kavanagh

Patrick Kavanagh

O the prickly sow thistle that grew in the hollow of the Near Field.
I used it as a high jump coming home in the evening –
A hurdle race over the puce blossoms of the sow thistles.
Am I late?
Am I tired?
Is my heart sealed
From the ravening passion that will eat it out
Till there is not one pure moment left?

O the greater fleabane that grew at the back of the potato-pit.
I often trampled through it looking for rabbit burrows!
The burnet saxifrage was there in profusion
And the autumn gentian –
I knew them all by eyesight long before I knew their names.
We were in love before we were introduced.

Let me not moralize or have remorse, for these names
Purify a corner of my mind;
I jump over them and rub them with my hands,
And a free moment appears brand new and spacious
Where I may live beyond the reach of desire.

Last updated April 02, 2023