Canal Bank Walk was written as Patrick Kavanagh was recuperating after being treated for lung cancer in 1954. His recovery from a potentially fatal disease revitalised his zest for life and made him see life anew.
The natural beauty of the canal bank area seems to be infused with the beauty of nature and the wonder of God.
Kavanagh wants to rush headlong towards both and to rediscover himself anew.
Canal Bank Walk
Leafy-with-love banks and the green waters of the canal
Pouring redemption for me, that I do
The will of God, wallow in the habitual, the banal,
Grow with nature again as before I grew.
The bright stick trapped, the breeze adding a third
Party to the couple kissing on an old seat,
And a bird gathering materials for the nest for the Word
Eloquently new and abandoned to its delirious beat.
O unworn world enrapture me, encapture me in a web
Of fabulous grass and eternal voices by a beech,
Feed the gaping need of my senses, give me ad lib
To pray unselfconsciously with overflowing speech
For this soul needs to be honoured with a new dress woven
From green and blue things and arguments that cannot be proven.