Heaney: a taste of nature

Seamus Heaney could turn a moment’s thought into a naturalistic poem of pure joy. He may be an acquired taste but he’s worth it.

Oysters

by Seamus Heaney/
Our shells clacked on the plates,
My tongue was a filling estuary,
My palate hung with starlight:
As I tasted the salty Pleiades
Orion dipped his foot into the water.
Alive and violated,
They lay on their bed of ice:
Bivalves: the split bulb
And philandering sigh of ocean
Millions of them ripped and
Shucked and scattered.

We had driven to that coast
Through flowers and limestone
And there we were, toasting friendship,
Laying down a perfect memory
In the cool of thatch and crockery.
Over the Alps, packed deep in hay and snow,
The Roman's hauled their oysters south to Rome:
I saw damp panniers disgorge
The frond-lipped, brine-stung
Glut of privilege

And was angry that my trust could not repose
In the clear light, like poetry or freedom
Leaning in fom the sea. I ate the day
Deliberately, that its tang
Might quicken me all into verb,
Pure verb.
 

Published by Robin

I'm a retired journalist who still has stories to tell. This seems to be a good place to tell them.

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