EPIC by Patrick Kavanagh

I first read Epic by Patrick Kavanagh for my Junior Cert in the early '90s. At 40, I find it very hard to not consider it my favourite poem. An epic piece of work.

Here's the full text of the poem, copied from this marvellous site, created with Microsoft Word 97:


- Patrick Kavanagh

I have lived in important places, times
When great events were decided : who owned
That half a rood of rock, a no-man's land
Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.

I heard the Duffys shouting "Damn your soul"
And old McCabe stripped to the waist, seen
Step the plot defying blue cast-steel -
"Here is the march along these iron stones."

That was the year of the Munich bother. Which
Was most important ? I inclined
To lose my faith in Ballyrush and Gortin
Till Homer's ghost came whispering to my mind.
He said : I made the Iliad from such
A local row. Gods make their own importance.

Here's an audio of Patrick Kavanagh reading the poem:

Filed Under:

  1. Poetry
  2. Patrick Kavanagh
  3. Epic