A John The Baptist Bird

I'm still with John the Baptist from yesterday's feast of his birth.
Click here for post.
and here.

These poems below carry a recurrent theme that's been running through me for some time: Detachment. 
  I'll try and post some more on it later !

Here's a "Blackbird in Fulham."
( or anywhere )

A John the Baptist bird which comes before
The light, chooses an aerial
Toothed like a garden rake, puts a prong at each shoulder,
Opens its beak and becomes a thurifer
Blessing dark above dank holes between the houses,
Sleek patios or rag-and-weed-choked messes.

Too aboriginal to notice these,
Its concentration is on resonance
Which excavates in sleepers memories
Long overgrown or expensively paved-over,
Of innocence unmawkish, love robust.
Its sole belief, that light will come at last.
The point is proved and, casual, it flies elsewhere
To sing more distantly, as though its tune
Is left behind imprinted on the air,
Still legible, though this the second carbon.
And puzzled wakers lie and listen hard
To something moving in their minds' backyard.

P J Kavanagh (Collected Poems, Carcanet 1992)

Note : A thurifer is a person appointed to carry the incense filled vessel called a censer or thurible at religious ceremonies. There's a famous giant swinging one at the Cathedral in Santiago Compostela.

This John Kavanagh poem also featured in my Advent poems series here.

Another favourite John Kavanagh poem of mine is below.  Click here for a pretty thorough biography from The Poetry Society page.

Click on the link below to watch a short video of writer and painter John Ryan and Kavanagh's brother Peter reflect on the Patrick Kavanagh's belief that he was reborn as a poet on the banks of the canal. It also features a reading of the poem below.

Canal Bank Rebirth - RTÉ Archives

 Image shows life size sculpture of Irish poet Patrick Kavenagh (1904-1967), It's located on the bank of the Grand Canal, Dublin near Baggot Street bridge. The bench seat is made from an Irish oak tree which was 100 years old.
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.

A related post from my archives also featuring John Kavanagh's canal bank poem is here.

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