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Seamus heaney north


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Seamus heaney north

  1. 1. ! V also by Seamus Heaney I poetry f SEAMUS HEANEY 1 North D E A T H OFA NATURALIST D O O R INTO T H E DARK ~**~~ W I N T E R I N G " O T J T ~ FIELD WORK STATION ISLAND • S W E E N E Y ASTRAY T H E H A W L A N T E R N NEW SELECTED POEMS lj66-T.J%J SEEING THINGS SWEENEYS FLIGHT [with photographs by Rachel Giese) T H E R A T T L E BAG [edited with Ted Hughes) L A M E N T S by Jan Kochanowski[translated with Stanislaw Baranczak) prose PREOCCUPATIONS: Selected Prose 1968-78T H E G O V E R N M E N T O FT H E T O N G U E T H E R E D R E S S O F P O E T R Y plays T H E C U R E AT TO nv •fern L O N D O N • BOSTON 84800 I 91^
  2. 2. Firs: published in Faber Paperbacks^rgyp Contents by Faber and Faber Limited 3 Queen Square London W C I N 3AU Reprinted nine times Acknowledgements, vii Reset 1992. Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication for M a r y Phototypeset by Wilmaset L t d , Birkenhead, W i r r a l Printed i n England by Clays L t d , St Ives pic 1 Sunlight, ix ~* A l l rights reserved z The Seed Cutters, x i © Seamus Heaney, 1975 PART I This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out 7!S?»Antaeus, 3or otherwise circulated without the publishers prior consent Belderg, 4 . ** in any form of binding or cover other than that in whichit is published and without a similar condition including this Funeral Rites, -6 condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser •—-North, 10 Viking Dublin: Trial Pieces, i z A CIP record for this book is available The Digging Skeleton, 17 f r o m the British L i b r a r y Bone Dreams, 159 ISBN o 571 10813 x Come to the Bower, Z4 Bog Queen, z$ The Grauballe M a n , z8 Punishment, 30 Strange Fruit, 32 Kinship, 33 •«s=Ocean s Love to Ireland, 40 5 Aisling, 4 2 Act of Union, 43 The Betrothal of Cavehiil, 45 Hercules and Antaeus, 4 6 6 8 10 9 7
  3. 3. Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication for Mary Heaney I. S.UNLIGHT There was a sunlit absence. The helmeted pump in the yard heated its iron, water honeyed in the slung bucket and the sun stood * •• like a griddle cooling-•" against the wall of each long afternoon. So, her hands scuffled <f$-^ over the bakeboard, the reddening stovesent its plaque of heatagainst her where she stoodin a flour/y apronby the window.N o w HEE) dusts the board • .with a^gooseVwmg,now sits, broad-lapped,w i t h whitened nails [ix]
  4. 4. and jrneasiing_sJiias :here is a spaceagain, thejscrjrj^ risingto the tick of two clocks. X . T H E SEED CUTTERSAnd here is love They seem hundreds of years away.,Bx£u^hel,like a tinsmiths scoop Youll know them if I can get them true.sunk past its gleam They kneel under the hedge in a half-circlein the meal-bin. Behind;a^w±T£l^^ • They are the seed cutters. The tuck and frill „ Of leaf-sprout is on the seed potatoes Buried under that straw. W i t h time to kill They are taking their time. Each sharp knife goes Lazily halving each root that falls apart In the palm of the hand: a milky gleam, And, at the centre, a dark watermark. O calendar customs! Under the broom Yellowing over them, compose the friezt. W i t h all of us there, our anonymities. [xi ]
  5. 5. Poems by Seamus Heaney "Antaeus" "Hercules and Antaeus" when I lie on the ground Sky-born and royal,I rise flushed as a rose in the morning. Snake-choker, dung-heaver,In fights I arrange a fall on the ring His mind big with golden apples, To rub myself with sand. His future hung with trophies,That is operative Hercules has the measureAs an elixir. I cannot be weaned of resistance and black powersOff the earths long contour, her river-veins. feeding off hte terrotory. Down her in my cave, Antaeus, the mould-hugger, Girded with root and rock, Is weaned at lastI am cradled in the dark that wombed me A fall was a renewalAnd nurtured i n every artery But he is raised up - Like a small hillock. The challengers intelligence Let each new hero come Is a spur of light, a blue prong graiping him Seeking the golden apples and Atlas. Out of his element He must wrestle with me before he pass Into a dream of loss and origins ... Into that realm of fame Among sky-bom and royal: He may well throw me and renew my birth But let him not plan, lifting me off the earth, M y elevation, my fall.
  6. 6. Who will say corpse The Gratiballe Man to his vivid cast? Who will say body to his opaque repose? As if he had been poured in tar, he lies And his rusted hair, on a pillow of turf a mat unlikely and seems to weep as a foetuss. I first saw his twisted facethe black river of. himself.The grain of his wrists in a photograph,is like bog oak, a head and shoulderthe ball of his heel. out of the peat, bruised like a forceps baby,like a basalt egg.His instep has shrunk -but now he liescold as a swans foot perfected in my memory,or a wet swamp root. down to the red horn of his nails,His hips are the ridgeand purse of a mussel, hung in the scaleshis spine an eel arrested with beauty and atrocity:under a glisten of mud. with the Dying25u|) too strictly compassedThe head lifts,the chin is a visor on his shield,raised above the vent w i t h the actual weightof his slashed throat of each hooded victim, slashed and dumped.that has tanned and toughened.The cured woundopens inwards to a darkelderberry place.
  7. 7. in Oceans Love to Ireland Jjhejniin^^ complains in Irish, Ocean has scattered her dreams of fleets, The Spanish prince has spilled his goldSpeaking broad Devonshire, And failed her. Iambic drums Ralegh has backed the maid to a tree Of English beat the woods where her poets,As Ireland is backed to England Sink like £)nan. Rush-light, mushroom-flesh, And drives inland She fades from their somnolent clasp T i l l all her strands are breathless: Into ringlet-breath and dew,^^Sweesir, Swatter ijSyyeesir^ Swatter! The ground possessed and-xepossessed.He is water, he is ocean, lifting farthingale like a scarf of weed liftingIn the front of a wave. nYet his superb crest inclines to CynthiaEven while it runs its bentIn the rivers of Lee and Blackwater.Those are the plashy spots where he would layHis cape before her. In London, his nameWill rise on water, and on these dark seepings:Smerwick sowed with the mouthing corpses .Of six hundred papists, as gallant and goodPersonages as ever were.beheld. .- . - 5 . - [40]