Lines Written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin by Patrick Kavanagh


Lines Written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin
by Patrick Kavanagh

O commemorate me where there is water,
Canal water, preferably, so stilly
Greeny at the heart of summer. Brother
Commemorate me thus beautifully
Where by a lock niagarously roars
The falls for those who sit in the tremendous silence
Of mid-July. No one will speak in prose
Who finds his way to these Parnassian islands.
A swan goes by head low with many apologies,
Fantastic light looks through the eyes of bridges—
And look! a barge comes bringing from Athy
And other far-flung towns mythologies.
O commemorate me with no hero-courageous
Tomb—just a canal-bank seat for the passer-by.

Copyright © Estate of Katherine Kavanagh

PHOTO: Monument for Patrick Kavanagh, Irish poet and novelist, located at the bank of Grand Canal in Dublin, Ireland. Photo by Peierls, used by permission. 

ABOUT THE SCULPTURE: Situated on the north bank of the Grand Canal on Mespil Road in Dublin, Patrick “Paddy” Kavanagh is one of John Coll‘s most prominent works of art.  Inspired by Kavanagh’s poem “Lines written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin,”  the sculpture was built as part of Dublin 1991 European City of culture celebrations. Patrick Kavanagh found solace beside the Grand Canal and often sat there to contemplate his life.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967) was an Irish poet and novelist. His best-known works include the novel Tarry Flynn, and the poems “On Raglan Road and “The Great Hunger”. He is known for his accounts of Irish life through reference to the everyday and commonplace. 

PHOTO: Patrick Kavanagh in his native Inniskeen, County Monaghan, Ireland.  Photo courtesy of National Library of Ireland, used by permission. 

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