Patrick Galvin R.I.P.

THE MADWOMAN OF CORK
Today
Is the feast day of Saint Anne
Pray for me
I am the madwoman of Cork.
Yesterday
In Castle street
I saw two goblins at my feet
I saw a horse without a head
Carrying the dead
To the graveyard
Near Turner’s Cross.I am the madwoman of Cork
No one talks to me.

When I walk in the rain
The children throw stones at me
Old men persecute me
And women close their doors.
When I die
Believe me
They’ll set me on fire.

I am the madwoman of Cork
I have no sense.

Sometimes
With an eagle in my brain
I can see a train
Crashing at the station
If I told people that
They’d choke me.
Then where would I be?

I am the madwoman of Cork
The people hate me
.

When Canon Murphy died
I wept on his grave
That was twenty-five years ago.
When I saw him just now
In Dunbar Street
He had clay in his teeth
He blest me.

I am the madwoman of Cork
The clergy pity me.

I see death
In the branches of a tree
Birth in the feathers of a bird.
To see a child with one eye
Or a woman buried in ice
Is the worst thing
And cannot be imagined.

I am the madwoman of Cork
My mind fills me.

I should like to be young
To dress up in silk
And have nine children
I’d like to have red lips
But I’m eighty years old.
I have nothing
But a small house with no windows.

I am the madwoman of Cork
Go away from me.

And if I die now
Don’t touch me.
I want to sail in a long boat
From here to Roche’s Point
And there I will anoint
The sea
With oil of alabaster.

I am the madwoman of Cork
And today
Is the feast day of Saint Anne.
Feed me. 

This was a man who laughed at poetry literary. He had his own personal way of expressing his poetry that came from his gut. He wasn’t interested in creating anthologies.  Well – they once looked down on Patrick Kavanagh. Language evolves all the time and a poet of this kind will hopefully be embraced in the future.
His childhood ended dramatically when he was sent to Daingean industrial school, noted for its abuse of young people in its care. This experience had a powerful influence on his earlier poetry which expresses the fear and brutality of that time. His wife spoke on RTE about the effects the Ryan Report had on him. He was that sick and couldn’t take any more of it, that he had to dispense with the whole thing.
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