Sunday, May 10, 2009

others had echoes

as a child, they could not keep me from wells
and old pumps with buckets and windlasses.
i loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells
of waterweed, fungus and dank moss.

one, in a brickyard, with a rotted board top.
i savoured the rich crash when a bucket
plummeted down at the end of a rope.
so deep you saw no reflection in it.

a shallow one under a dry stone ditch
fructified like any aquarium.
when you dragged out long roots from the soft mulch
a white face hovered over the bottom.

others had echoes, gave back your own call
with a clean new music in it. and one
was scaresome, for there, out of ferns and tall
foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection.

now, to pry into roots, to finger slime,
to stare, big-eyed narcissus, into some spring
is beneath all adult dignity. i rhyme
to see myself, to set the darkness echoing.

seamus heaney

all paintings by andrew wyeth

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