Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Seamus Heaney 'from Field Work'

I love this one -  listen to it - on the podcast 'Fieldwork' ===========>

Where the sally tree went pale in every breeze
where the perfect eye of the nesting blackbird watched
where one fern was always green

I was standing watching you

take the pad from the gatehouse at the crossing
and reach to lift a whitewash off the whins

I could see the vaccination mark
stretched on your upper arm, and smell the coal smell
of the train that comes between us, a slow goods,
waggon after waggon full of big-eyed cattle.

Not the mud slick,
not he black weedy water
full of alder cones and pock-marked leaves.

Not the cow parsley in winter
with its old whitened shins and wrists
its sibiliance its shaking

Not even the tart green shade of summer
thick with butterflies
and fungus plump as a leather saddle

No. But in a still corner
braced to its pebble-dashed wall
heavy, earyth-drawn, all mouth and eye
the sunflower, dreaming umber.

Catspiss smell
the pink bloom open
I press a leaf
of the flowering currant
on the back of your hand
for the tight slow burn
of its sticky juice
to prime your skin
and your veins to be crossed
criss-cross with leaf-veins

I lick my thumb
and dip it in mould
I anoint the anointed
leaf-shape.  Mould
bloom and pigments
the back of your hand
like a birthmark
my umber one
you are stained, stained to perfection.

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