04 February 2009

Seamus Heaney

[from Seamus Heaney's District and Circle, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006]

Polish Sleepers

Once they'd been block-built criss-cross and four-squared
We lived with them and breathed pure creosote
Until they were laid and landscaped in a kerb,
A moulded verge, half-skirting, half-stockade,
Soon fringed with hardy ground-cover and grass,
But as that bulwark bleached in sun and rain
And the washed gravel pathway showed no stain,
Under its parched riverbed
Flinch and crunch I imagined tarry pus
Accruing, bearing forward to the garden
Wafts of what conspired when I'd lie
Listening for the goods from Castledawson . . .
Each languid, clanking waggon,
And afterwards, rust, thistles, silence, sky.

District And Circle

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