Friday, November 27, 2015

Personal Helicon by Seamus Heaney

Personal Helicon

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. 

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