Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication
for Mary Heaney


There was a sunlit absence.
The helmeted pump in the yard
heated its iron,
water honeyed

in the slung bucket
and the sun stood
like a griddle cooling
against the wall

of each long afternoon.
So, her hands scuffed
over the bakeboard,
the reddening stove

sent to its plaque of heat
against her where she stood
in a floury apron
by the window.

Now she dusts the board
with a goose’s wing,
now sits, broad lapped,
with whitened nails

and measling shins:
here is a space
again, the scone rising
to the tick of two clocks.

And here is love
like a tinsmith’s scoop
sunk past its gleam
in the meal bin.

Seamus Heaney
(from North)


The Poem Unwritten

The Poem Unwritten

For weeks the poem of your body,
of my hands upon your body
stroking, sweeping, in the rite of
worship, going
their way of wonder down
from neck-pulse to breast-hair to level
belly to cock –
for weeks that poem, that prayer
That poem unwritten, the act
left to the mind, undone. The years
a forest of giant stones, of fossil stumps,
blocking the altar.

Denise Levertov