My mental snapshots of home crystallize in the summer months. Sometimes, I used to wander from where I worked and sit by the Grand Canal. I'd always think of Patrick Kavanagh, though I never sat on his bench. I preferred to leave him alone and sit on my own myself. Canal Bank Walk is one of those poems we learned by heart in school; "stilly greeny" always makes me happy.
Lines Written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin
'Erected to the memory of Mrs. Dermot O'Brien'
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.