Back to the Bog, Seamus

I came late to the poetry of Seamus Heaney. Death of a Naturalist was his first collection, and the first one I read—it sat on my bookshelf for 10 years before I read it.  It was worth the wait. His bog poems have long been my favourites. He died today.

Seamus Heaney documentary

Back to the Bog, Seamus

Back to the bog, Seamus,
back to the peat and the dark
to lie now among the unfound
silent ones whose siblings,
with their skins turned to
coppery leather by long years,
their limbs drawn up fetal
by shrunken tendons that never
let loose of bone turned black,
you bent and examined, studied
their clogged throats to pick
out syllable by syllable
the poems stuck there.

Back to the bog, Seamus,
sink down deep and accumulate
mineral after mineral to cure
your own leathery skin—back
to the bog, Seamus, sink down
to be dug up again as you dug
yourself up all your life,
turning and turning over
the fields of memory to find
each scant scrap of meaning,
each small shard of purpose to
lay out piece by piece until
you were laid out today, whole.

About John MacKenzie

I'll mumble for ya. Poetry, plus most things quantifiable: science, neuroscience, memory, epistemology, baseball. And so on.
This entry was posted in Art is lies, Art is theft, Bog, Bog poems, Consciousness, Death, Epistemology, John MacKenzie, Language, Memory, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetics, Poetry, Seamus Heaney, The Earth and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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