Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Seamus Heaney

by Seamus Heaney

And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-gray lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Periscope

The Periscope

The periscope contains two mirrors
tipped just so I can look through the window
behind my head, see the pink blossoms
replaced by clusters of red leaves.
Someone told me warblers
take only a small bite
from each flower, not enough to damage
the fruit within. When I bring my eye
close to one mirror I see my eye in the mirror
at the far end of the tube. A periscope
discards truth for that finer thing, illusion,
like my age when I’m dreaming,
like the vast unpopulated landscape
outside my urban window.
I take a test online:
Would you rather go to a party or a library?
Is fastidiousness a sign of mental illness
or proof of a Christian upbringing?
Should you bring a lapdog to a funeral?
What part of a Smithfield ham
can be replaced with an octopus?
A more sophisticated world would favor
odd numbers —
one eye, five legs, nine tentacles.
The periscope is made of cardboard
& has never heard of a submarine.
The submarine is a disguised banana.
The banana is one spine of a sea urchin
found only in the South China Sea.
Lying here on a sandy blanket
drenched in late afternoon sunlight
I watch the crabs sidewalk
across the hot sand. Every sixth crab
will be eaten by a seagull
except in the mirror world
where every seventh seagull
will be eaten by a giant clam.
The mirrors whisper softly after midnight
about what to reveal in the morning.
Confectioners sugar on the scrambled eggs.
Eggshells bidding for seats at the opera.
The high chair sawing off its legs,
replacing them with globes of stainless steel
& spinning, spinning away.