For the rain in Texas, which sometimes falls too little and sometimes falls so much too much, from The Spirit Level.
from The Rain Stick / by Seamus Heaney
Upend the rain stick and what happens next
Is a music that you never would have known
To listen for.
For fathers and paper boats, from The Spirit Level.
from The Flight Path / by Seamus Heaney
A dove rose in my breast
Every time my father’s hands came clean
With a paper boat between them, ark in air,
The lines of it as taut as a pegged tent
For my friends at St. Brigid Press, and for a pretty, signed, Faber and Faber Limited first-edition of The Spirit Level, from a time when I could afford such things.
from A Brigid’s Girdle / by Seamus Heaney
Now it’s St. Brigid’s Day and the first snowdrop
in County Wicklow, and this is a Brigid’s Girdle
I’m plaiting for you, an airy fairy hoop
(Like one of those old crinolines they’d trindle),
Twisted straw that’s lifted in a circle
To handsel and to heal, a rite of spring
As strange and lightsome and traditional
As the motions you go through going through the thing.
For scribes for which Heaney has an argument here, from Opened Ground.
from The Scribes / by Seamus Heaney
I never warmed to them.
If they were excellent they were petulant
and jaggy as the holly tree
they rendered down for ink.
For the mysteries of nests, from Opened Ground.
from Nesting-Ground / by Seamus Heaney
As he stood sentry, gazing, waiting, he thought of putting his ear to one of the abandoned holes and listening for the silence underground.
For summer and Heaney, from Opened Ground.
from Summer Home / by Seamus Heaney
Bushing the door, my arms full
of wild cherry and rhododendron,
I hear her small lost weeping
through the hall
For the Irish sea, from Opened Ground.
from North / by Seamus Heaney
It said, “Lie down
in the word-hoard, burrow
the coil and gleam
of your furrowed brain.
For mothers, from North.
from Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication: for Mary Heaney / by Seamus Heaney
So, her hands scuffled
over the bakeboard,
the reddening stove
sent its plaque of heat
against her where she stood
in a floury apron
by the window.
For how could I forget Heaney on St. Patrick’s Day? This one’s a favorite from North.
from The Grauballe Man / by Seamus Heaney
As if he had been poured
in tar, he lies
on a pillow of turf
and seems to weep
the black river of himself.
For a different perspective, from Station Island.
from Drifting Off / by Seamus Heaney
The guttersnipe and the albatross
gliding for days without a single wingbeat
were equally beyond me.