Canal Bank Walk

Canal Bank Walk. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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.

Notes and analysis
Ireland’s 100 favourite poems
Patrick Kavanagh

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.

In Memory of my Mother by Patrick Kavanagh. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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.

Canal Bank Walk by Patrick Kavanagh. Image copyright Ireland Calling
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Canal Bank Walk – notes and analysis

Patrick Kavanagh – peasant poet to literary giant