Seamus Heaney

(April 13,1939 - August 30, 2013 / Castledàwson, County Londonderry)

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My father worked with a horse-plough,
His shoulders globed like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The horse strained at his clicking tongue.

An expert. He would set the wing
And fit the bright steel-pointed sock.
The sod rolled over without breaking.
At the headrig, with a single pluck

Of reins, the sweating team turned round
And back into the land. His eye
Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly.

I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake,
Fell sometimes on the polished sod;
Sometimes he rode me on his back
Dipping and rising to his plod.

I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow round the farm.

I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,
Yapping always. But today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away.

Submitted: Wednesday, December 28, 2011

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  • Elena Sandu (1/26/2014 8:29:00 PM)

    First time to read this poem, carried away by the beauty and wonderful flow of this poem, I took it lightly without searching for its meanings. My heart breaks now as I realize how wrong I was. I can recognise now the huge pain brought by one of the worst sickness of our world. A bow of deepest sorrow. (Report) Reply

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