Patrick Kavanagh by Patrick Swift, London 1961, Oil on Canvas

(poor quality reproduction)

Patrick Kavanagh to Patrick Swift

Dear Paddy as George Barker does,
Letter in rhyme pleaseth us.
Here I am in old New York
With drinking as my daily work.
I see the Farrellys regular,
At present this is how they are:
John's right arm is paralysed
The radial nerve he was advised.
Dede is well and I'm sure the same
And nothing sorry that I came.
A year ago was Lecture Time
An orgy out of reality.
(To hell with rhyme)
It was something that had happened like a great
Love affair or an accident of fate
And we were involuntary players
At Olympian affairs.
Elizabeth Smart called
Much news of London she told
How you were raging
Over the bolloxy paging
In Nimbus. By the Lord Harry
George Barker is superior at this carry-
On in rhymed letter.
But I'll be better.
A defect in USA society
In the absence of that moiety
Of persons who can make the province
A Parnassian metropolis.
Provincials all.
I hear that Cronin is engaged
On life of Joyce- good man himself.
I hope your Oonagh and the baby
Are doing fine. I'll soon be back
About May and I may go via London
By air and see you there.
New York floats on whiskey.
The Arts Council I hear
Are publishing the Lectures,
They are in print.
Of course they are not the actual script
Though my praise of Barker is in.
I called it the Forgiven Plough
From Blake's line, you know:
'The cut worm forgives the plough.'
The audience is the cut worm,
Cronin gave me the idea.
As I mentioned at the top of this page
No consecrated bishops of the Muse,
Are here to confer orders:
All look to London or to some vague otherwhere.

Swift had introduced Dede and John Farrelly, whom he befriended in Positano, to Kavanagh, and it was under Dede's patronage that Kavanagh made his trip to New York - Gandon Editions, 1993