Inniskeen Road, July Evening by Patrick Kavanagh was voted Ireland’s 30th favourite poem by readers of the Irish Times in 1999.
It is about a village barn that is the venue for a dance for the locals, a scenario which would’ve been a common occurrence during Kavanagh’s youth.
Kavanagh also touches upon his feelings of loneliness and isolation as a poet.
The bicycles go by in twos and threes –
There’s a dance in Billy Brennan’s barn tonight,
And there’s the half-talk code of mysteries
And the wink-and-elbow language of delight.
Half-past eight and there is not a spot
Upon a mile of road, no shadow thrown
That might turn out a man or woman, not
A footfall tapping secrecies of stone.
I have what every poet hates in spite
Of all the solemn talk of contemplation.
Oh, Alexander Selkirk knew the plight
Of being king and government and nation.
A road, a mile of kingdom. I am king
Of banks and stones and every blooming thing.
All images copyright Ireland Calling