And the rain coming down, and the rain coming down!
How lovely it falls on the rick well headed,
On potato pits thatched, on the turf clamps home,
On the roofs of the byre where the cows are bedded!
And the sun shining down, and the sun shining down!
How bright on the turnip leaves, on the stubble --
Where turkeys tip-toe across the ridges --
In this corner of peace in a world of trouble.
Patrick Kavanagh, Collected Poems (edited by Antoinette Quinn) (Penguin 2004). The poem was first published in The Irish Press on October 27, 1943.
Those who are "politically-" or "socially-engaged" may feel that Kavanagh is not evincing sufficient concern for a world that, in 1943, was going up in flames. They might feel the same way if Kavanagh were alive today and wrote the same poem, titling it "October 2012." I would respectfully disagree with them. I confess that I am one of those who think that the term "political poetry" is a perfect example of an oxymoron. (Whether the politics are left, right, or Martian.) And, if I hear the words "socially-engaged poetry," I immediately run for the exit. (Whether the "social-engagement" is left, right, or Martian.)
Beyond the Headlines
Then I saw the wild geese flying
In fair formation to their bases in Inchicore,
And I knew that these wings would outwear the wings of war,
And a man's simple thoughts outlive the day's loud lying.
Don't fear, don't fear, I said to my soul:
The Bedlam of Time is an empty bucket rattled,
'Tis you who will say in the end who best battled.
Only they who fly home to God have flown at all.
Patrick Kavanagh, Ibid. The poem was first published in The Irish Press on March 29, 1943.