Sunday 19 August 2007

Proclamation of Love

The summer of 2007 in Dublin has been pretty miserable as far as weather is concerned. I would have to check official records (which I won't), but my guess is that since late May there has not been more than 48 hours when it hasn't rained. So this afternoon, noticing blue skies, we went out for a family walk. Despite being dry this mid August afternoon felt more like it belonged in late September, but undeterred we went for a walk along a short section of the Grand Canal. The coolness in the air permitted the purchase of a coffee to stroll with as I and my wife and two small children meandered along this straight stretch of waterway.

Normally I start to get frustrated when walking with my kids. My long legs and sense of purpose don't always match up to shorter legs and inquisitive minds. This afternoon, however, I didn't mind. The sun was sparkling on the rippling water, a gentle breeze shussssshhed the tall, bankside reeds and there was no hurry. We had nowhere to get to and plenty of time to go there. It was one of those moments. My lovely family.

There are plenty of benches to sit on take in this scene of urban tranquility so it is no wonder that on one bench a lover had written, 'This is where I made my first proclamation of love'. A little further down the route there is a more permanent display of love and life and literary expression. It is a sculpture of the Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh who often sought inspiration and rest on the banks of the Grand Canal. Beside the bench is the inscription, 'Leafy-with-love banks and the green waters of the canal pouring redemption for me.'

Here is the poem in full:

Canal Bank Walk
Patrick Kavanagh

Leafy-with-love banks and the
green waters of the canal
Pouring redemption for me, that I do
The will of God, wallow in the habitual, the banal,
Grow with nature again as before I grew.
The bright stick trapped, the breeze adding a third
Party to the couple kissing on an old seat,
And a bird gathering materials for the nest for the Word
Eloquently new and abandoned to its delirious beat.
O unworn world enrapture me, encapture me in a web
Of fabulous grass and eternal voices by a beech,
Feed the gaping need of my senses, give me ad lib
To pray unselfconsciously with overflowing speech
For this soul needs to be honoured with a new dress woven
From green and blue things and arguments that cannot be proven.


Chemical said...


Chanced upon your blog and have enjoyed reading the little I have explored so far.

Must come back when I have more time and do it proper justice.

Cosmo said...

Thanks, Chemical.

One day, when I have more time, I'll also do my blog proper justice!

jsi said...

Exceptionally beautiful - "That I do the will of God, wallow in the habitual, the banal,grow with nature again."
What inspirational words of effort, introspection and presence.
I was never frustrated about walking with my young ones, but frequently found my self wearing two of them (one front, one back)as two would serpentine their way through a path. Frustrated, no, but aware that when all four were walking we looked more like the Keystone Cops than a mother duck and her ducklings all in a row.
It makes me laugh just remembering - it sure wasn't long ago, but now they are running ahead with strength and purpose - "Come on mom, look and see!" So instead of lagging behind covering two miles instead of 500 yards, we are zigging and zagging - and it makes me smile deeply.
Your poetry choice today is fantastic - thank you!