Saturday 18 November 2017

After Advent, a January flower

IN 'Advent', the poet Kavanagh wrote memorably of the desiccation that always follows when young lovers have "tested and tasted too much".

Even a less than devout Catholic like Kavanagh knew that excess was always the prologue to remorse, but as we know to our cost in different but equally fleshy matters, the heart will have what the heart wants. However, whilst too much of desire may lead inevitably to "the Advent darkened room" with its "dry black bread and the sugarless tea", even a natural misanthrope such as Kavanagh could see past the equinox to the prospect that Christ would come "with a January flower".

Advent may just have concluded for us in the Christian sense of the concept. Sadly, the economic version that our Calvinist 'friends' from Europe are imposing on a country which, in its time of tawdry Celtic Tiger glory "tested and tasted" a little too much, will last well past January. But though there will be no shortage of the economic equivalent of "black bread and sugarless tea" next year, we should not succumb too easily to the morose tendency of our post-colonial Celtic nature to embrace the brackish dog of pessimism.

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