Sunday, November 21, 2010
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.
-Seamus Heaney Personal Helican
We have a sunlight absence here in the Northwest. Like Ireland, I tell myself, only here the eye concedes to a horizon of firs rather than bogs. There is much that is familiar in the poetry of Seamus Heaney. And today, this dark gloomy day is sweet Tadzio's birthday. Like all small children, he approaches our foul weather with good cheer and delight. Before cake and presents he is bundled up in his raincoat and boots, attending the model train show with his Papa.