Saturday, February 02, 2008

Poetry for St. Brigid

Part of the annual Silent Poetry Reading

This poem's been rattling around in my head for a few months now, maybe because my family's been blessed with two beautiful children this year... Warning : it's not exactly cheerful...

Limbo
Fishermen at Ballyshannon
Netted an infant last night
Along with the salmon.
An illegitimate spawning,

A small one thrown back
To the waters. But I'm sure
As she stood in the shallows
Ducking him tenderly

Till the frozen knobs of her wrists
Were dead as the gravel,
He was a minnow with hooks
Tearing her open.

She waded in under
The sign of her cross.
He was hauled in with the fish.
Now limbo will be

A cold glitter of souls
Through some far briny zone.
Even Christ's palms, unhealed,
Smart and cannot fish there.


Seamus Heaney, from Wintering Out (1972)

4 comments:

Mary deB said...

Yes, very not cheerful.

Ducking him tenderly....

Rosie said...

spine-tingling and so sad and tender

E-J said...

It's good poetry, but it is utterly horrible. x

deborah oak said...

Thank you. A poem new to me and grisly...all part of the mighty web of life. Thank you.