TALK TO THE DADDY

Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Friday, September 5, 2008

Seamus Heaney: Three Poems

"This temperamental disposition towards an art that was earnest and devoted to things as they are was corroborated by the experience of having been born and brought up in Northern Ireland and of having lived with that place even though I have lived out of it for the past quarter of a century."
--Seamus Heaney
"To begin with, I wanted that truth to life to possess a concrete reliability, and rejoiced most when the poem seemed most direct, an upfront representation of the world it stood in for or stood up for or stood its ground against."
--Seamus Heaney

Blackberry-Picking

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots. Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills We trekked and picked until the cans were full Until the tinkling bottom had been covered With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were pepperedWith thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's. We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre. But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour. I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.
Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication
1. Sunlight

There was a sunlit absence.
The helmeted pump in the yard
heated its iron,
water honeyed

in the slung bucket
and the sun stood
like a griddle cooling
against the wall

of each long afternoon.
So, her hands scuffled
over the bakeboard,
the reddening stove

sent its plaque of heat
against her where she stood
in a floury apron
by the window.

Now she dusts the board
with a goose's wing,
now sits, broad-lapped,
with whitened nails

and measling shins:
here is a space
again, the scone rising
to the tick of two clocks.

And here is love
like a tinsmith's scoop
sunk past its gleam
in the meal-bin.

2. The Seed Cutters

They seem hundreds of years away. Brueghel,
You'll know them if I can get them true.
They kneel under the hedge in a half-circle
Behind a windbreak wind is breaking through.
They are the seed cutters. The tuck and frill
Of leaf-sprout is on the seed potates
Buried under that straw. With time to kill,
They are taking their time. Each sharp knife goes
Lazily halving each root that falls apart
In the palm of the hand: a milky gleam,
And, at the centre, a dark watermark.
Oh, calendar customs! Under the broom
Yellowing over them, compose the frieze
With all of us there, our anonymities.

Poetry, Main Collections

Poetry, Collected Editions

3 comments:

Somebodies Friend said...

I know most of these works.
I don't know 1966: Death of a Naturalist, I'm not 100% sure about 1969:Door into the dark. uncle? And was it that older guy Bill, wasn't he involoved in the writing of 1975:Wintering out, but his ideas got axed when he didn't get his way. He an Seamus never talked again if I am not mistaken.

Let me see if I can recall who assisted Seamus, editing each works.
1972: watering out - I can't remember her name, but she seemed very young for the job, if I recall.
1979: Field work - Was it that gal ms Hiedi coffman
1984: Station Island : She was a good editor, I think her name was Sharon O'Sullivan
1987: The Haw Lantern - Bill W and That gal Debbie Richardson - I think they were both senior editors on this piece. or was it that guy Mr. Craig.
1991: Seeing Things - How could I for get Brandy McNally, she was a show stopper.
1996: The Spirit Level - I almost forgot her, Del Ronning
2001: It was Karla Johnson, all she was was annoying.
2006:District and Circle - This one is my favorite piece by Seamus, and the editor was that Gal, Tammy O'Mally.

MacDaddy said...

somebodiesfriend: I wouldn't be surprised if you hadn't read some of his stuff. He is a prolific writer. His translations alone represent an amazing body of work. But it's great you know so much about his writing. You got good taste.

Rastamick61 said...

MacD

Thanks for reminding us of Seamus. My son Sean was a stoplight away from being named after him so we gave Seamus to Mikey as a middle name instead. My wife and I used Seamus' poem Scaffolding as a reference to get us through a very painful crisis a few years back. MidTerm Break to this day can make me lose it. I have always had a place for this man but strangely had to read him on my own since I can't recall anything of his ever coming up in college, I am impressed with your and the above scholarship. Saoirse !