Παρασκευή, 2 Μαρτίου 2012

Seamus Heaney ---3 Poems







Personal Helicon

for Michael Longley 
As a child, they could not keep me from wells 
And old pumps with buckets and windlasses. 
I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells 
Of waterweed, fungus and dank moss. 


One, in a brickyard, with a rotted board top. 
I savoured the rich crash when a bucket 
Plummeted down at the end of a rope. 
So deep you saw no reflection in it. 


A shallow one under a dry stone ditch 
Fructified like any aquarium. 
When you dragged out long roots from the soft mulch 
A white face hovered over the bottom. 


Others had echoes, gave back your own call 
With a clean new music in it. And one 
Was scaresome, for there, out of ferns and tall 
Foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection. 


Now, to pry into roots, to finger slime, 
To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring 
Is beneath all adult dignity. I rhyme 
To see myself, to set the darkness echoing. 

Song

A rowan like a lipsticked girl.
Between the by-road and the main road
Alder trees at a wet and dripping distance
Stand off among the rushes.

There are the mud-flowers of dialect
And the immortelles of perfect pitch
And that moment when the bird sings very close
To the music of what happens.

From Lightenings

I

Shifting brilliancies. Then winter light
In a doorway, and on the stone doorstep
A beggar shivering in silhouette.

So the particular judgement might be set:
Bare wallstead and a cold hearth rained into--
Bright puddle where the soul-free cloud-life roams.

And after the commanded journey, what?
Nothing magnificent, nothing unknown.
A gazing out from far away, alone.

And it is not particular at all,
Just old truth dawning: there is no next-time-round.
Unroofed scope. Knowledge-freshening wind.

VI

Once, as a child, out in a field of sheep,
Thomas Hardy pretended to be dead
And lay down flat among their dainty shins.

In that sniffed-at, bleated-into, grassy space
He experimented with infinity.
His small cool brow was like an anvil waiting

For sky to make it sing the prefect pitch
Of his dumb being, and that stir he caused
In the fleece-hustle was the original

Of a ripple that would travel eighty years
Outward from there, to be the same ripple
Inside him at its last circumference.

VII

(I misremembered. He went down on all fours,
Florence Emily says, crossing a ewe-leaze.
Hardy sought the creatures face to face,

Their witless eyes and liability
To panic made him feel less alone,
Made proleptic sorrow stand a moment

Over him, perfectly known and sure.
And then the flock's dismay went swimming on
Into the blinks and murmurs and deflections

He'd know at parties in renowned old age
When sometimes he imagined himself a ghost
And circulated with that new perspective.)

VIII

The annals say: when the monks of Clonmacnoise
Were all at prayers inside the oratory
A ship appeared above them in the air.

The anchor dragged along behind so deep
It hooked itself into the altar rails
And then, as the big hull rocked to a standstill,

A crewman shinned and grappled down the rope
And struggled to release it. But in vain.
'This man can't bear our life here and will drown,'

The abbot said, 'unless we help him.' So
They did, the freed ship sailed, and the man climbed back
Out of the marvellous as he had known it.