Patrick Kavanagh born October 21st 1904, in Inniskeen, Co. Monaghan, was an Irish poet and novelist. Kavanagh received only primary school education and at the age of thirteen, he became an apprentice shoemaker, following his father who was also a shoemaker. However, 15 months later he gave it up and for the next 20 years he would work on the family farm before moving to Dublin in 1939.
A man’s worth was measured by the straightness of the furrow he could plough, rather than the lines of poetry he could write and Kavanagh’s interest in literature and poetry marked him as ‘different’ to the people in his local place.
His first attempts of becoming a published poet involved the publication of poems in the local newspaper in the 1930’s and the publishing of his autobiographical novel by Tarry Flynn. In 1947, Kavanagh released his first collection ‘A Soul for Sale’. In the 1950’s, Kavanagh and brother Peter, published a weekly newspaper called “Kavanagh’s Weekly” which failed due to the editorial viewpoint being too narrow.
Patrick Kavanagh was diagnosed with pneumonia and on 30 November 1967 at the age of 63, he died in a Dublin nursing home. He was buried two days later in Inniskeen, Co. Monaghan.
We remember and celebrate Patrick Kavanagh with some of his most famous quotes –
“My advice is this, do whatever pleases yourself. These things don’t matter. What does matter is that if you have anything worthwhile in you, any talent, you should deliver it. Nothing must turn you from that”
“It often occurs to me that we love most what makes us miserable. In my opinion, the damned are damned because they enjoy being damned”
“We have tested and tasted too much, lover –
Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder”
“A man innocently dabbles in words and rhymes and finds that it is his life”
“Life was too heavy on her feet in that place to leap dramatically when something apparently exciting happened”
“Death was in the atmosphere. Only the yellow weeds in the meadow were excited by living”
“The sun rose and set in a land of dreams whether the clocks were right or wrong”
“He was pleasantly hysterical like a young girl at a wedding”
“I find a star-lovely art
In a dark sod.
Joy that is timeless! O heart
That knows God!”
“He was in his secret room in the heart now. Having entered he could be bold. A man hasn’t to be on his best behaviour in Heaven; he can kick the furniture around. He can stoop down and picks up lumps of mortality without being born again to die”