Seamus Heaney

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

Follower - Poem by Seamus Heaney

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.


Comments about Follower by Seamus Heaney

  • P. Mason (12/12/2016 1:45:00 PM)

    One of the best....
    I don't think there is a single poem from Heaney that I did not enjoy and appreciate his use of the language, words meaning and the structure it all provided. His skill is hard to emulate. (Report) Reply

    17 person liked.
    13 person did not like.
  • (9/1/2016 11:07:00 AM)


    Another excellent autobiographical poem from Heaney. His descriptions really bring the scene to life. (Report) Reply

  • (5/5/2016 7:03:00 PM)


    Growing old is not for the feint of heart, as a boy you grow up admiring the strength of the parent you love, only to come of age and watch the parent you love slip into a new role, the old man. A reminder of what life has for all of us (Report) Reply

  • (2/1/2016 11:28:00 AM)


    Hahahaha banter, this poem is crease (Report) Reply

  • Aftab Alam Khursheed (1/26/2015 1:36:00 AM)


    Lo! A brook is flowing dancing singing, rhyming (Report) Reply

  • 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

  • Gajanan Mishra (1/26/2013 1:28:00 AM)


    I wanted to grow up. Thanks for this line. (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, December 28, 2011



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