Route 110

II
Smithfield Market Saturdays. The pet shop
Fetid with droppings in the rabbit cages,
Melodious with canaries, green and gold,

But silent now as birdless Lake Avernus.
I hurried on, shortcutting the buses,
Parrying the crush with my bagged Virgil,

Past booths and the jambs of booths with their displays
Of canvas schoolbags, maps, prints, plaster plaques,
Feather dusters, artificial flowers,

Then racks of suits and overcoats that swayed
when one was tugged from its overcrowded frame
Like their owners’ shades close-packed on Charon’s barge.

Seamus Heaney

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