In Memory of Mother

Patrick Kavanagh of Monaghan paid tribute to the memory of his mother.

I do not think of you lying in the wet clay

Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see

You walking down a lane among the poplars

On your way to the station, or happily

Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday –

You meet me and you say:

‘Don’t forget to see about the cattle’ –

Among your earthiest words the angels stray.


And I think of you walking along a headland

Of green oats in June,

So full of repose, so rich with life –

And I see us meeting at the end of a town


On a fair day by accident, after

The bargains are all made and we can walk

Together through the shops and stalls and markets

Free in the oriental streets of thought.


O you are not lying in the wet clay,

For it is a harvest evening now and we

Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight

And you smile up at us – eternally.


We would be much the poorer without the likes of Kavanagh to console us in our melancholic moods.

Today as we mourn the passing of our good friend Mary McKeown, whose hearty laugh will continue to ring down through the years, we take comfort in the thoughts of the poet

.. ‘among whose earthiest words, the angels stray.’

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