Friday, 20 September 2013

POSTSCRIPT by Seamus Heaney

And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you'll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

from THE SPIRIT LEVEL (Faber & Faber, 1996)

1 comment:

  1. I'd love to walk the Flaggy Shore. Shall we do it one day?

    I'm ashamed to say I'm coming to Seamus far too late. I'd read the odd thing and had the Human Chain on my list to buy, as I liked the extracts I saw in the reviews. I had it in my head that he was too rustic and Irish, a sort of anti-Larkin. All too pernickity with emotion, and careful. How wrong I've been all these years. And it took a death to show me. I've bought a couple of his collections and am reading voraciously.

    This is from a collection I haven't got. It's a cracker. Obviously the last line, but also the wind and the light 'working off each other', and the (dare I say it, Larkin-esque) 'useless to think you'll park and capture it.'