Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bogland by Seamus Heaney


We have no prairies 
To slice a big sun at evening-- 
Everywhere the eye concedes to 
Encrouching horizon, 

Is wooed into the cyclops' eye 
Of a tarn. Our unfenced country 
Is bog that keeps crusting 
Between the sights of the sun. 

They've taken the skeleton 
Of the Great Irish Elk 
Out of the peat, set it up 
An astounding crate full of air. 

Butter sunk under 
More than a hundred years 
Was recovered salty and white. 
The ground itself is kind, black butter 

Melting and opening underfoot, 
Missing its last definition 
By millions of years. 
They'll never dig coal here, 

Only the waterlogged trunks 
Of great firs, soft as pulp. 
Our pioneers keep striking 
Inwards and downwards, 

Every layer they strip 
Seems camped on before. 
The bogholes might be Atlantic seepage. 
The wet centre is bottomless. 


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