12 Degrees & Skiving

what began as year-long challenge has become perpetual until further notice

Seamus Heaney – Punishment

I was very sad to read yesterday that another brilliant poet has upped and flown off. I discovered Northern Irish poet Seamus Heaney at university and immediately loved his sympathetic and deftly melancholic writing.

This is one of my favourites:

 

Punishment

I can feel the tug
of the halter at the nape
of her neck, the wind
on her naked front.

It blows her nipples
to amber beads,
it shakes the frail rigging
of her ribs.

I can see her drowned
body in the bog,
the weighing stone,
the floating rods and boughs.

Under which at first
she was a barked sapling
that is dug up
oak-bone, brain-firkin:

her shaved head
like a stubble of black corn,
her blindfold a soiled bandage,
her noose a ring

to store
the memories of love.
Little adultress,
before they punished you

you were flaxen-haired,
undernourished, and your
tar-black face was beautiful.
My poor scapegoat,

I almost love you
but would have cast, I know,
the stones of silence.
I am the artful voyeur

of your brain’s exposed
and darkened combs,
your muscles’ webbing
and all your numbered bones:

I who have stood dumb
when your betraying sisters,
cauled in tar,
wept by the railings,

who would connive
in civilised outrage
yet understand the exact
and tribal, intimate revenge.

–Seamus Heaney, 1975

Advertisements

4 comments on “Seamus Heaney – Punishment

  1. Mike
    August 31, 2013

    An apt choice in homage. Thank you.

    • ali in italia
      September 8, 2013

      Thank you, Mike, although hard pressed to choose a poem in regards to paying homage. Very sad.

  2. dixiedeano
    September 1, 2013

    Lovely epitaph for this great man, his poem ‘Digging’ reminds me of my childhood helping my father digging potatoes, he ignited my interest in poetry with this poem.

    • ali in italia
      September 8, 2013

      “…Under my window, a clean rasping sound…” reminds me, too, of listening to my Dad digging the garden while I sat inside and drew or wrote or did homework. I love poetry for its little hooks in time.

Tell me wotcha reckon

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

A Ciência nas Coisas

Fatos e Curiosidades sobre a Natureza e tecnologia

LIBERO SLANCIO

"per l' allegria il pianeta nostro è poco attrezzato. Bisogna strappare la gioia ai giorni futuri "

The Artistry

by Isabelle Warren

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

Two Twitch A Tale

Linking collage work to the meaning of personal and universal symbols.

At Home in Florence: Italian Renovations

This is my adventurous story about buying, designing, and renovating homes in ITALY

aliisaacstoryteller

guardian of irish mythology

Dirty, Naked & Happy

is currently taking a break from blogging x

Gathering just-a-bit-o moss

Attempting not to make too little or too much sense

shifuyanlei

I help you unlock the peace and strength already within you

Tara Sparling writes

Book Humour. A Sideways Perspective on the Bonkers Business of Books

Disintegrazioni

"C’è molta speranza, ma nessuna per noi." (Franz Kafka)

A Holistic Journey

Finding my way back out of motherhood -- while mothering

expatriotgames

Expatty-cakes: Diary of an American southerner turned expat

globalwanderings.ca

Grand adventures and global wanderings. Next stop: Italy.

Martin Diotte

Creative Artist

Truth

Discover the truth about mental health

La Audacia de Aquiles

"El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto" / "The Visible World is Just a Pretext".-

Lady Of The Cakes

Vignettes from a multi-lingual, multi-cake-eating freelance existence

SmirkPretty

Eyes ten degrees above the horizon

Crafted in Carhartt

about women who do amazing things

Fugitive Fragments

by Mike McGuire

Tricia Drammeh

A Creative State of Mind

elizabeth frattaroli

Writing for Children and Young Adults #amwriting

Jane Dougherty Writes

About fantastical places and other stuff

Lucy's Light

Underground Energy - Scientific Documentation of the failures of an OCD albatross + friends

REBELMONKEY23

A topnotch WordPress.com site

Blood On Borrowed Wings

I write, I love, I run, I play, I break things.

rrearick

In the Groove...

Interno Poesia

Blog e progetto editoriale di poesia

Poesy plus Polemics

Words of Wonder, Worry and Whimsy

Lasciatemi Pensare.

se non sarò serena, mi rasserenerò

Globe Drifting

Global issues, travel, photography & fashion. Drifting across the globe; the world is my oyster, my oyster through a lens.

Indie Hero

Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller

Vonj Productions

Bringing you love through spirit!

A Mirror Obscura,

Poetry, musings and sightings from where the country changes

Zenobia Frost

Writer and editor

Aisha's Oasis

A peaceful place to relax while on my wild joyride to Egypt from South Carolina.

The Perfect Nose

Sewing, illustration and design.

hecatedemeter

Undermining the Patriarchy Every Chance I Get. And I Get a Lot of Chances (Copyright Preserved)

%d bloggers like this: