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Stony Grey Soil

 O stony grey soil of Monaghan
The laugh from my love you thieved;
You took the gay child of my passion
And gave me your clod-conceived.
You clogged the feet of my boyhood And I believed that my stumble Had the poise and stride of Apollo And his voice my thick tongued mumble.
You told me the plough was immortal! O green-life conquering plough! The mandrill stained, your coulter blunted In the smooth lea-field of my brow.
You sang on steaming dunghills A song of cowards' brood, You perfumed my clothes with weasel itch, You fed me on swinish food You flung a ditch on my vision Of beauty, love and truth.
O stony grey soil of Monaghan You burgled my bank of youth! Lost the long hours of pleasure All the women that love young men.
O can I still stroke the monster's back Or write with unpoisoned pen.
His name in these lonely verses Or mention the dark fields where The first gay flight of my lyric Got caught in a peasant's prayer.
Mullahinsa, Drummeril, Black Shanco- Wherever I turn I see In the stony grey soil of Monaghan Dead loves that were born for me.

Poem by Patrick Kavanagh
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