Monday, December 5, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Seamus Heaney

From Clearances

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other's work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives--
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.


  1. There is a great tenderness in this poem. Thank you for posting it, T.

  2. Very poignant T. given my FILs announcement to us yesterday about moving to a Retirement home. It seems, since the death of his wife, he cannot bear the lonliness.

  3. Oh, the rhymes in this poem are so magnificent. Thank you for the video as well -- what a pleasure it was to hear the man's voice. I once had a ticket to hear him read and speak at UCLA, but at the last minute he cancelled and I was just devastated. Heaney's poem from "The Cure at Troy" is one of my favorites -- a passage from it the inspiration for my book that I've been working on for years.

  4. I love the emphasis of this poem - so very poignant.

  5. A shared act often relieves grief, if only temporarily, and he captures this so well. Amazing.

  6. Perfect. As good as poetry gets. Thank you.

  7. What a lovely poem. Thank you.