\"Patrick

Patrick Kavanagh's poem 'A Christmas Childhood' in Ireland Photo by: Google Images

Patrick Kavanagh's poem 'A Christmas Childhood' in Ireland

\"Patrick

Patrick Kavanagh's poem 'A Christmas Childhood' in Ireland Photo by: Google Images

My father played the melodion

Outside at our gate;

There were stars in the morning east;

And they danced to his music.

Across the wild bogs his melodion called

To Lennons and Callans.

As I pulled on my trousers in a hurry

I knew some strange thing had happened.

Outside in the cow-house my mother

Made the music of milking;

The light of her stable-lamp was a star

And the frost of Bethlehem made it twinkle.

A water-hen screeched in the bog,

Mass-going feet

Crunched the wafer-ice on the pot-holes,

Somebody wistfully twisted the bellows wheel.

My child poet picked out the letters

On the grey stone,

In silver the wonder of a Christmas townland,

The winking glitter of a frosty dawn.

Cassiopeia was over

Cassidy's hanging hill,

I looked and three whin bushes rode across

The horizon - the Three Wise Kings.

An old man passing said:

"Can't he make it talk" -

The melodion, I hid in the doorway

And tightened the belt of my box-pleated coat.

I nicked six nicks on the door-post

With my penknife's big blade -

There was a little one for cutting tobacco.

And I was six Christmases of age.

My father played the melodion,

My mother milked the cows,

And I had a prayer like a white rose pinned

On the Virgin Mary's blouse.

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