Ask any Irish person over the age of 30 if they remember “Billy Brennan’s Barn” and they’ll start talking to you about bicycles going by in twos and threes and the half talk code and the wink-and-elbow language.
Well guess what guys, it’s for sale! Yes, you could be the proud owner of a piece of poetry history. I had a half thought of buying it myself. It would be a good place to store my collection of the cloths of heaven, my Grecian urn, my two vast and trunkless legs of stone, my squat pen, the caged bird, a red red rose and a poison tree. Where do I get all this stuff?
Anyway, for those who were not raised to the bard of the bog, here is the relevant poem. A poet, like a philosopher, has no place in his own country.
Iniskeen Road – July Evening; by Patrick Kavanagh
The bicycles go by in twos and threes –
There’s a dance in Billy Brennan’s barn to-night,
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.