A note from Paddy

April 20, 2010

I’ve lived along the grand canal for a while now, my small dark house(shared with three others) is inspiration to move sometimes, however there’s something about the canal that leaves me reluctant. I think Paddy and the hundreds of other, now familiar faces, are in agreement. From the tin whistle playing bearded man, who draws the swans every evening with his bin loads of bread and his corteous “good evening lady” to the business men out on their lunch break.  I returned home this weekend and through my idle fingers I flicked through a sisters leaving cert poetry book, only to land on Paddy Kavanagh’s “Lines Written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin”. It reminded me why I and so many others are drawn to the canal and to Paddy, his tilted head across from the busy Mespil hotel ready to listen to all your problems or to just sit in silence. Go! Sit with him!

Lines Written on a Seat
on the Grand Canal, Dublin

'Erected to the memory of Mrs. Dermot O'Brien'

O commemorate me where there is water,
Canal water, preferably, so stilly
Greeny at the heart of summer. Brother
Commemorate me thus beautifully
Where by a lock niagarously roars
The falls for those who sit in the tremendous silence
Of mid-July.  No one will speak in prose
Who finds his way to these Parnassian islands.
A swan goes by head low with many apologies,
Fantastic light looks through the eyes of bridges -
And look! a barge comes bringing from Athy
And other far-flung towns mythologies.
O commemorate me with no hero-courageous
Tomb - just a canal-bank seat for the passer-by

Copyright © Estate of Katherine Kavanagh