This feature, originally known as Saturday Farmer's Market, was created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and then hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.
Although my Easter Lily is usually a little late, it has never been this late.
I think I've mentioned before how my garden doesn't seem to have a good grasp on time and seasons. Well, this is a good example. The good news is that it has a lot of buds and looks like it's going to be blooming for a while to come.
- Seamus Heaney
For Ann Saddlemyer,
our heartiest welcomer
IVowels ploughed into other: opened ground.The mildest February for twenty yearsIs mist bands over furrows, a deep no soundVulnerable to distant gargling tractors.Our road is steaming, the turned-up acres breathe.Now the good life could be to cross a fieldAnd art a paradigm of earth new from the latheOf ploughs. My lea is deeply tilled.Old ploughsocks gorge the subsoil of each senseAnd I am quickened with a redolenceOf farmland as a dark unblown rose.Wait then...Breasting the mist, in sowers’ aprons,My ghosts come striding into their spring stations.The dream grain whirls like freakish Easter snows.
IISensings, mountings from the hiding places,Words entering almost the sense of touchFerreting themselves out of their dark hutch—‘These things are not secrets but mysteries,’Oisin Kelly told me years agoIn Belfast, hankering after stoneThat connived with the chisel, as if the grainRemembered what the mallet tapped to know.Then I landed in the hedge-school of GlanmoreAnd from the backs of ditches hoped to raiseA voice caught back off slug-horn and slow chanterThat might continue, hold, dispel, appease:Vowels ploughed into other, opened ground,Each verse returning like the plough turned round.
IIIThis evening the cuckoo and the corncrake(So much, too much) consorted at twilight.It was all crepuscular and iambic.Out on the field a baby rabbitTook his bearings, and I knew the deer(I’ve seen them too from the window of the house,Like connoisseurs, inquisitive of air)Were careful under larch and May-green spruce.I had said earlier, ‘I won’t relapseFrom this strange loneliness I’ve brought us to.Dorothy and William—’ She interrupts:‘You’re not going to compare us two...?’Outside a rustling and twig-combing breezeRefreshes and relents. Is cadences.
IVI used to lie with an ear to the lineFor that way, they said, there should come a soundEscaping ahead, an iron tuneOf flange and piston pitched along the ground,But I never heard that. Always, instead,Struck couplings and shuntings two miles awayLifted over the woods. The headOf a horse swirled back from a gate, a greyTurnover of haunch and mane, and I’d lookUp to the cutting where she’d soon appear.Two fields back, in the house, small ripples shookSilently across our drinking water(As they are shaking now across my heart)And vanished into where they seemed to start.
VSoft corrugations in the boortree’s trunk,Its green young shoots, its rods like freckled solder:It was our bower as children, a greenish, dankAnd snapping memory as I get older.And elderberry I have learned to call it.I love its blooms like saucers brimmed with meal,Its berries a swart caviar of shot,A buoyant spawn, a light bruised out of purple.Elderberry? It is shires dreaming wine.Boortree is bower tree, where I played ‘touching tongues’And felt another’s texture quick on mine.So, etymologist of roots and graftings,I fall back to my tree-house and would crouchWhere small buds shoot and flourish in the hush.
VIHe lived there in the unsayable lights.He saw the fuchsia in a drizzling noon,The elderflower at dusk like a risen moonAnd green fields greying on the windswept heights.‘I will break through,’ he said, ‘what I glazed overWith perfect mist and peaceful absences’—Sudden and sure as the man who dared the iceAnd raced his bike across the Moyola River.A man we never saw. But in that winterOf nineteen forty-seven, when the snowKept the country bright as a studio,In a cold where things might crystallize or founder,His story quickened us, a wild white gooseHeard after dark above the drifted house.
VIIDogger, Rockall, Malin, Irish Sea:Green, swift upsurges, North Atlantic fluxConjured by that strong gale-warning voice,Collapse into a sibilant penumbra.Midnight and closedown. Sirens of the tundra,Of eel-road, seal-road, keel-road, whale-road, raiseTheir wind-compounded keen behind the baizeAnd drive the trawlers to the lee of Wicklow.L’Etoile, Le Guillemot, La Belle Hélène
Nursed their bright names this morning in the bayThat toiled like mortar. It was marvellousAnd actual, I said out loud, ‘A haven,’The word deepening, clearing, like the skyElsewhere on Minches, Cromarty, The Faroes.
VIIIThunderlight on the split logs: big raindropsAt body heat and lush with omenSpattering dark on the hatchet iron.This morning when a magpie with jerky stepsInspected a horse asleep beside the woodI thought of dew on armour and carrion.What would I meet, blood-boltered, on the road?How deep into the woodpile sat the toad?What welters through this dark hush on the crops?Do you remember that pension in Les LandesWhere the old one rocked and rocked and rockedA mongol in her lap, to little songs?Come to me quick, I am upstairs shaking.My all of you birchwood in lightning.
IXOutside the kitchen window a black ratSways on the briar like infected fruit:‘It looked me through, it stared me out, I’m notImagining things. Go you out to it.’Did we come to the wilderness for this?We have our burnished bay tree at the gate,Classical, hung with the reek of silageFrom the next farm, tart-leafed as inwit.Blood on a pitchfork, blood on chaff and hay,Rats speared in the sweat and dust of threshing—What is my apology for poetry?The empty briar is swishingWhen I come down, and beyond, inside, your faceHaunts like a new moon glimpsed through tangled glass.
XI dreamt we slept in a moss in DonegalOn turf banks under blankets, with our facesExposed all night in a wetting drizzle,Pallid as the dripping sapling birches.Lorenzo and Jessica in a cold climate.Diarmuid and Grainne waiting to be found.Darkly asperged and censed, we were laid outLike breathing effigies on a raised ground.And in that dream I dreamt—how like you this?—Our first night years ago in that hotelWhen you came with your deliberate kissTo raise us towards the lovely and painfulCovenants of flesh; our separateness;The respite in our dewy dreaming faces.
from: Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966-1996. Copyright 1998.