24 June 2008

Seamus Heaney

[from Seamus Heaney's Electric Light, 2001]

Ballynahinch Lake

Godi, fanciullo mio; stato soave,
Stagion lieta e cotesta

     Leopardi, “Il Sabato del Villaggio’

         for Eamon Grennan

So we stopped and parked in the spring-cleaning light
Of Connemara on a Sunday morning
As a captivating brightness held and opened
And the utter mountain mirrored in the lake
Entered us like a wedge knocked sweetly home
Into core timber.
                         Not too far away
But far enough for their rumpus not to carry,
A pair of waterbirds splashed up and down
And on and on. Next thing their strong white flex
That could have been excitement or the death-throes
Turned into lift-off, big sure sweeps and dips
Above the water — no rafter skimming souls
Translating in and out of the house of life
But air-heavers, far heavier than the air.

Yet something in us had unhoused itself
At the sight of them, so that when she bent
To turn the key she only half-turned it
And spoke, as it were, directly to the windscreen,
In profile and in thought, the wheel at arm’s length,
Averring that this time, yes, it had indeed
Been useful to stop; then inclined her driver’s brow
Which shook a little as the ignition fired.

Electric Light: Poems

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