Monday, August 10, 2015


The out-of-context excerpt is al-
ways properly suspect; but we ab-
sorb almost everything we trust
in pieces, and we are continuous-
ly approached by pieces. 

I was revisiting Seamus Heaney's
Station Island and found again,
pieces, which defy a last look.
How they turn.

    'I at least was young and unaware

    that what I thought was chosen was convention.
    But all this you were clear of you walked into
    over again. And the god has, as they say, withdrawn.

    What are you doing, going through these motions?

    Unless you are here taking the last look.'
    Suddenly where he stood was bare as the roads
    We both grew up beside, where a sick man

    had taken his last look one drizzly evening
    when steam rose like the first breath of spring,
    a knee-deep mist I waded silently

    behind him, on his circuits, visiting.


    As if the prisms of the kaleidoscope
    I plunged once in a butt of muddied water
    surfaced like a marvelous lightship

    and out of its silted crystals a monk's face
    that had spoken years ago from behind a grille
    spoke again about the need and chance

    to salvage everything, to re-envisage
    the zenith and glimpsed jewels of any gift
    mistakenly abased ...

Seamus Heaney
  Station Island 
  final fragment
  first fragment

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