Portrait of the Artist

by Patrick Kavanagh

Patrick Kavanagh

I never lived, I have no history,
I deserted no wife to take another,
I rotted in a room and leave – this message.

The morning newspapers and the radio
Announced his death in a few horrid words:
– A man of talent who lacked the little more
That makes the difference
Between success and failure.
The biographer turned away disgusted from
A theme that had no plot
And wrote instead the life of Reilly.

Great artist, came to town at twenty-one,
Took a job,
Threw it up,
Lived a year with Mrs Brown.

Wrote a play,
Got the pox,
Made a film,
Wrote the incidental music.

Left his Mrs.
Took another,
Lived in Paris
With a mummer.

His critics were
Denounced as monsters,
Jungle beasts
Who hated Art.

Great artist, great man, the pattern was perfect And the biographer recorded it
with enthusiasm.

Last updated April 26, 2023