A Christmas Childhood
(Bealtaine Cottage in the snow…looking down the driveway in the week before Christmas, 2010.)
One side of the potato-pits was white with frost-
How wonderful that was, how wonderful!
And when we put our ears to the paling-post
The music that came out was magical.
The light between the ricks of hay and straw
Was a hole in Heaven’s gable. An apple tree
With its December-glinting fruit we saw-
O you, Eve, were the world that tempted me.
(Bealtaine Cottage in the winter of 2010, just coming into the driveway.)
To eat the knowledge that grew in clay
And death the germ within it! Now and then
I can remember something of the gay
Garden that was childhood’s. Again
The tracks of cattle to a drinking-place,
A green stone lying sideways in a ditch
Or any common sight the transfigured face
Of a beauty that the world did not touch.
My father played the melodeon
Outside at our gate;
There were stars in the morning east
And they danced to his music.
(A winter sky at Bealtaine Cottage in the frozen winter of 2010)
Across the wild bogs his melodeon called
To Lennons and Callans
As I pulled on my trousers in a hurry
I knew some strange thing had happened.
(The Blackbird at Bealtaine Cottage.)
Outside in the cow-house my mother
Made the music of milking;
The light of her stable-lamp was a star
And the frost of Bethlehem made it twinkle.
A water-hen screeched in the bog,
Crunched the wafer-ice on the pot-holes,
Somebody wistfully twisted the bellows wheel.
(Moon-rise before Midwinter at Bealtaine Cottage, 2010.)
My child poet picked out the letters
On the grey stone,
In silver the wonder of a Christmas townland,
The winking glitter of a frosty dawn.
Cassiopeia was over
Cassidy’s hanging hill,
I looked and three whin bushes rode across
The horizon-the Three Wise Kings.
An old man passing said:
‘Can’t he make it talk’-
The melodeon. I hid in the doorway
And tightened the belt of my box-pleated coat.
I nicked six nicks on the door-post
With my penknife’s big blade-
There was a little one for cutting tobacco.
And I was six Christmases of age.
(Bealtaine Cottage in a snowstorm, Christmas 2010.)
My father played the melodeon,
My mother milked the cows,
And I had a prayer like a white rose pinned
On the Virgin Mary’s blouse.
by Patrick Kavanagh
You have been reading a blog from “Bealtaine Cottage”.
The Bealtaine Cottage Press presents…
“A Cottage and Three Acres,” by Colette O’Neill
Please email Colette if you would like a particular inscription in your book. From a desolate cottage set in 3 acres of monoculture sadness, to a vibrant, thriving food forest of life…the journey back to Eden over 13 years… Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.
Magical Mythical Map of Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens
Beautiful map created by the artist David Gascoigne, especially for Bealtaine Cottage. The picture shows one side of the map…it is printed on both sides, see the photos on this page. The price includes all Postage and Packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.
Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter
A little Yuletide book filled with colour photographs, recipes, reflections, lore, poetry and mirth to guide you through the wonderful days ahead. Fifty pages of sheer delight from Bealtaine Cottage to you. The book is fully bound and can be posted direct as a gift. Price includes P&P worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.
Special Offer: Goddess Book and Midwinter Book
In Search of the Goddess Rising and The Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter…both books normally cost €36.00 but can be purchased together for for €32.00 which includes P&P Worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.
Thank you for supporting Bealtaine Cottage