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Stony Grey Soil - Patrick Kavanagh

 

O stony grey soil of Monaghan 
The laugh from my love you thieved; 
You took the the gay child of my passion 
And gave me your clod-conceived. 

You clogged the feet of my boyhood 
And I believed that my stumble 
Had the poise and stride of Apollo 
And his voice my thick-tongued mumble. 

You told me the plough was immortal! 
O green-life-conquering plough! 
Your mandril strained, your coulter blunted 
In the smooth lea-field of my brow. 

You sang on steaming dunghills 
A song of coward's brood, 
You perfumed my clothes with weasel itch, 
You fed me on swinish food. 

You flung a ditch on my vision 
Of beauty, love and truth. 
O stony grey soil of Monaghan 
You burgled my bank of youth! 

Lost the long hours of pleasure 
All the women that love young men. 
O can I still stroke the monster's back 
Or write with unpoisened pen 

His name in these lonely verses 
Or mention the dark fields where 
The first gay flight of my lyric 
Got caught in a peasant's prayer. 

Mullahinsha, Drummeril, Black Shanco - 
Wherever I turn I see 
In the stony grey soil of Monaghan 
Dead loves that were born for me.