Three Irish poems we love to celebrate National Poetry Day

Three Irish poems we love to celebrate National Poetry Day

Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939). (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images. 

1. He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, because you can't beat Yeats for a bit of old-fashioned romance

HAD I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

A monumnet to Patrick Kavanagh at Grand Canal, Dublin A monumnet to Patrick Kavanagh at Grand Canal, Dublin

2. Inniskeen Road: July Evening, by the wonderful Patrick Kavanagh. For anyone who ever felt like a bit of an outsider in their own town

The bicycles go by in twos and threes
There's a dance in Billy Brennan's barn tonight,
And there's the half-talk code of mysteries
And the wink-and-elbow language of delight.
Half-past eight and there is not a spot
Upon a mile of road, no shadow thrown
That might turn out a man or woman, not
A footfall tapping secrecies of stone.
I have what every poet hates in spite
Of all the solemn talk of contemplation.
Oh, Alexander Selkirk knew the plight
Of being king and government and nation.
A road, a mile of kingdom. I am king
Of banks and stones and every blooming thing.

Austin Clarke (Picture courtesy of Austin Clarke (Picture courtesy of

3. The Lost Heifer by Austin Clarke. Because there's nothing wrong with a bit of nostalgia 

When the black herds of the rain were grazing,
In the gap of the pure cold wind
And the watery hazes of the hazel
Brought her into my mind,
I thought of the last honey by the water
That no hive can find.Brightness was drenching through the branches
When she wandered again,
Turning sliver out of dark grasses
Where the skylark had lain,
And her voice coming softly over the meadow
Was the mist becoming rain.

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