After a rainy night we awoke to a beautiful Autumn day and we have spent most of the day gardening. The young Lambs’ Ears are fluffy and gorgeous, especially with fresh raindrops on them.
The delightful yellow of the clematis Bill Mackenzie brightens up the trellis.It is 50 years since the publication of Seamus Heaney’s collection, Death of a Naturalist, and Radio 4 devoted a whole programme to readings of poems from this collection, one of which is Mid Term Break, which I have always found almost unbearable poignant. The last couple of lines are just the saddest and come as a culmination to a beautifully constructed poem.
Mid-Term Break by Seamus HeaneyI sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o’clock our neighbours drove me home.In the porch I met my father crying–
He had always taken funerals in his stride–
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand
And tell me they were “sorry for my trouble,”
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand
In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o’clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.
Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,
Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.
A four foot box, a foot for every year.