Patrick Kavanagh

1904 - 1967 / County Monaghan

My Father Played The Melodeon

My father played the melodeon
Outside at our gate,
There were stars in the morning east
And they danced to his music.

Across the world bogs his melodeon called
To Lennons and Callans
As I pulled on my trousers in a hurry
I knew some strange thing had happened.

Outside in the cow-house my mother
Made the music of milking,
The light of the stable-lamp was a star
And the frost of Bethlehem made it twinkle.

A water-hen screeched in the bog,
Mass-going feet
Crunched the wafer-ice on the polt-holes -
Somebody wistfully twisted a bellow's wheel.

My child-poet picked out the letters
On Time's black stone,
In silver the wonder of a Christmas townland
The winking glitter of a frosty dawn.

Cassiopea was over
Cassidy's hanging hill.
I looked and three whin bushes rode acoss
The horizon - the Three Wise Kings.

My father played the melodeon,
My mother milked the cows
And I had a prayer like a white rose pinned
On the Virgin Mary's blouse.
122 Total read