Poem of the day – Bogland by Seamus Heaney

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Head of Heaney by Philip Flanagan


for T.P.Flanagan

We have no prairies

To slice a big sun at evening –

Everywhere the eye concedes to

Encroaching horizon

Is wooed into the cyclops’ eye

Of a tarn. Our unfenced country

Is bog that keeps crusting

Between the sights of the sun.

They’ve taken the skelton

Of the Great Irish Elk

Out of the peat, set it up,

An astounding crate full of air.

Butter sunk under

More than a hundred years

Was recovered salty and white.

The ground itself is kind, blank butter

Melting and opening underfoot,

Missing its last defination

By millions of years.

They’ll never dig coal here,

Only the waterlogged trunks

of great firs, soft as pulp.

Our pioneers keep striking

Inwards and downwards,

Every layer they strip

Seems camped on before.

The bog holes might be Atlantic seepage.

The wet centre is bottomless.


About Author

I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.

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