Beyond Decoration

Beyond Decoration

Stalled, in the middle of a rented room,
The couple who own it quarrelling in the yard
Outside, about which shade of Snowcem
They should use. (From the bed I'd heard
Her say she liked me in my dressing-gown
And heard her husband's grunt of irritation.
Some ladies like sad men who are alone.)
But I am stalled, and sad is not the word.
Go out I cannot, nor can I stay in,
Becalmed mid carpet, breathless, on the road
To nowhere and the road has petered out.
This was twenty years ago, and bad as that.
I must have moved at last, for I knelt down,
Which I had not done before, nor thought I should.
It would not be exact to say I prayed;
What for? The one I wanted there was dead.
All I could do was kneel and so I did.
At once I entered dark so vast and warm
I wondered it could fit inside the room
When I looked round. The road I had to walk down
Was still there. From that moment it was mean
Beyond my strength to doubt what I had seen:
A heat at the heart of dark, so plainly shown,
A bowl, of two cupped hands, in which a pain
That filled a room could be engulfed and drown
And yet, for truth is in the bowl, remain...
Today I thought it time to write this down,
Beyond decoration, humble, in plain rhyme,
As clear as I could, and as truthful, which I have done.


from Collected Poems (Carcanet Press, 2001), copyright © Patrick Kavanagh 2001, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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1Dedication Poem

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2Yeats's Tower

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3The Spring

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4On The Way to the Depot

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5Perfection Isn't Like a Perfect Story

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6One

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7November the First

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8The Clapham Elephants

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9Dome

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10A Single Tree

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11Gardening

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12Beyond Decoration

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13Late Acknowledgement

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14One Sentence, and Another

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15A Ghost Replies

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16They Lift Their Heads

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17Minimal Prayer Suggestion

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18Natural History

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19Resistance

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20ITMA

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21In the Middle of the Wood

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22Message

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23Beside the Sea

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24Slow as Grass

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25Whitsun

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26Vox Pop

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27Dawns

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28Thanks

29Something About

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