Seamus Heaney’s Human Chain

seamus-heaneyOh great good poet, Seamus Heaney, the cadences of his poetry might be stamped in the marrow of my bones. What to say but that the poems in this collection feel like a faraway home for me. I find in his sorrow, a reflection of my own. It was a fine and grief-laden book to spend last week with.

Human Chain

for Terence Brown

Seeing the bags of meal passed hand to hand
In close-up by the aid workers, and soldiers
Firing over the mob, I was braced again

With a grip on two sack corners,
Two packed wads of grain I’d worked to lugs
To give me purchase, ready for the heave –

The eye-to-eye, one-two, one-two upswing
On to the trailer, then the stoop and drag and drain
Of the next lift. Nothing surpassed

That quick unburdening, backbreak’s truest payback,
A letting go which will not come again.
Or it will, once. And for all.

~Seamus Heaney in Human Chain