Stony Grey Soil

Stony Grey Soil

O stony grey soil of Monaghan

The laugh from my love you thieved;

You took 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!

The mandril stained, your coulter blunted

In the smooth lea-field of my brow.

You sang on steaming dunghills

A song of cowards’ 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 stilll stroke the monster’s back

Or write with unpoisoned 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.

Mullahinsa, Drummeril, Black Shanco-

Wherever I turn I see

In the stony grey soil of Monaghan

Dead loves that were born for me.

by:  Patrick Kavanagh

from: Irish Links

- Irish Poets