Street Corner Christ

Patrick Kavanagh, the Irish poet, died on 30th November 1967. Born in rural Ireland in 1904 Kavanagh was the fourth of ten children.

“All great civilisations are based on the parish,” Kavanagh wrote, reminding us that in the small, the local, the everyday we can discover the great. Timely words when some churches are considering the role and future of the parish system.

Kavanagh’s poetry often sees God in the ordinary stuff of life – in the local parish. He writes of seeds sown in the stony grey soil of the Monaghan hills and of ballad sellers on Dublin’s streets. All point to God, to beauty, to wonder, to Christ. God is in the ordinary of life.  The sacred heart beat of God is in each human heart.

Where do we see Christ today? Where do we find God? Do we stop and look for God ‘in the parish’?

In this poignant and challenging poem Kavanagh invites us to find our …

Street Corner Christ.

I saw Christ to-day
At a street corner stand,
In the rags of a beggar he stood
He held ballads in his hand.

He was crying out: – “Two for a penny
Will anyone buy
The finest ballads ever made
From the stuff of joy?”

But the blind and deaf went past
Knowing only there
An uncouth ballad-seller
With tail-matted hair.

And I whom men call fool
His ballads bought,
Found him whom the pieties
Have vainly sought.


About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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