in his first collections heaney is fascinated with the soil as he can perceive a mysterious life force in it. He uses many words to refer to it: slime, muck, mush. All of them describe a soil that is wetting and become less solid: this is a metaphor for sexual life, where the soil is the female element responding to a male one.
for Michael Longley
As a child, they could not keep me from wells And old pumps with buckets and windlasses. I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells Of waterweed, fungus and dank moss.