It is December in Wicklow:
Alders dripping, birches
Inheriting the last light,
The ash tree cold to look at.
 
A comet that was lost
Should be visible at sunset,
Those million tons of light
Like a glimmer of haws and rose-hips,
 
And I sometimes see a falling star.
If I could come on meteorite!
Instead I walk through damp leaves,
Husks, the spent flukes of autumn,
 
Imagining a hero
On some muddy compound,
His gift like a slingstone
Whirled for the desperate.
 
How did I end up like this?
I often think of my friends’
Beautiful prismatic counselling
And the anvil brains of some who hate me
 
As I sit weighing and weighing
My responsible tristia.
For what? For the ear? For the people?
For what is said behind-backs?
 
Rain comes down through the alders,
Its low conductive voices
Mutter about let-downs and erosions
And yet each drop recalls
 
The diamond absolutes.
I am neither internee nor informer;
An inner migr, grown long-haired
And thoughtful; a wood-kerne
 
Escaped from the massacre,
Taking protective colouring
From bole and bark, feeling
Every wind that blows;
 
Who, blowing up these sparks
For their meagre heat, have missed
The once-in-a-lifetime portent,
The comet’s pulsing rose.

  • 1
  • 0
  •  
  •  
Login to comment...

Liked or faved by...

Lex
Email

Other works by Seamus Heaney...

We need your help

Unlike many other websites, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep access to poetry as open as we can. Growing and maintaining Poeticous takes a lot of time, money and hard work, and the revenue we get from advertising is almost nothing, so we increasingly need our readers to fund us. If everyone who reads our pages, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. Support Poetiocus from as little as $1.