Canal Bank Walk
This poem was published in 1958, the collection was called "Come Dancing with Kitty Stobling". Kavanagh's convalescence throughout the summer of 1955 led him to an appreciation of Dublin's Grand Canal. His escape from lung cancer was a watershed in his life, the sense of wonderment and awe wished for in Advent is evident in this sonnet.
Kavanagh begins with a neologism "Leafy-with-Love" suggesting that the growth of plants and grasses on the banks of the Grand Canal, have been nurtured by God's love. The adjective, green, suggests that the water of the canal is the water of life, it is then given a sacramental significance as Kavanagh portrays it as baptismal water - "Pouring redemption for me". The poet has prostrated himself before God - "That I do the will of God, wallow in the habitual, the benal". Kavanagh no longer wants to apply adult logic to his life, the everyday and the ordinary will now, for him, reflect the glory of God. In the second quatrain, Kavanagh uses three images of everyday life by the canal bank, but portrays them as representations of Gods word, "The bright stick trapped, the breeze adding a third party to the couple kissing on an old seat, and a bird gathering materials for the nest for the Word". The Word represents the word of God and is equivalent to the phrase "Grow with nature again as before I grew". He begins the sestet of the poem, with an apostrophe to the world of nature "O unworn world enrapture me". Kavanagh wishes to immerse himself in the world of nature, he adopts a reverential tone and expresses his religious beliefs in a pantheistic fashion. He uses clothing imagery to draw an analogy between the canal and he himself, he began the poem leafy-with-love banks, suggesting that the walls of the canal were embraced by the plant-life on its banks. Now he wishes to be enraptured in a web of fabulous grasses, to be clothed in a nature based garment "With a new dress woven from green and blue things". Kavanagh places himself at the mercy of God and nature, recognising his own renaissance and that he can once again experience life through the innocence of a child's mind "And arguments that cannot be proven". This poem represents the rebirth of Kavanagh as a poet, he has achieved "the luxury of a child's soul", which he sought for in Advent, he is appreciative of the natural beauty of the Grand Canal and its surroundings. Religion is again a dominant element in the poem as Kavanagh uses the imagery of baptism as his central motif in the poem, the combination of redemption and grace sees the poet in a celebratory mood.
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