Diggingby Seamus HeaneyBetween my finger and my thumbThe squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Under my window, a clean rasping soundWhen the spade sinks into gravelly ground:My father, digging. I look down
Till his straining rump among the flowerbedsBends low, comes up twenty years awayStooping in rhythm through potato drillsWhere he was digging.
The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaftAgainst the inside knee was levered firmly.He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deepTo scatter new potatoes that we picked,Loving their cool hardness in our hands.
By God, the old man could handle a spade.Just like his old man.
My grandfather cut more turf in a dayThan any other man on Toner’s bog.Once I carried him milk in a bottleCorked sloppily with paper. He straightened upTo drink it, then fell to right awayNicking and slicing neatly, heaving sodsOver his shoulder, going down and downFor the good turf. Digging.
The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slapOf soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edgeThrough living roots awaken in my head.But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.
Between my finger and my thumbThe squat pen rests.I’ll dig with it.
Irish poet Seamus Heaney died today. Strangely enough, I took an Irish poetry class my last semester of college and we read a bunch of Heaney's work. It wasn't my favorite class and I can't say I've really thought much of him in the last four years, but I appreciate quality poetry. Here's a classic to remember him by.
Posted by Alyssa Jones