Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring into Poetry!

If you haven't noticed just yet, Oprah dedicated a large portion of her magazine to poetry this month. I had read most of the books on her list, but had not heard or read Semus Heaney, who I picked up very quickly after reading her homage to the great poets of our time. I was not aware of Heaney, who for years was our poet laureate, and have spent some considerable time lately catching up on his prose. I wanted to share one with you that I particularly enjoyed from his book "Open Ground"--a compilation of his work. If you get the time, check him out. Oprah will approve.

Holly by Seamus Heaney

It rained when it should have snowed.
When we went to gather holly

the ditches were swimming, we were wet
to the knees, our hands were all jags

and water ran up our sleeves.
There should have been berries

but the sprigs we brought into the house
gleamed like smashed bottle-glass.

Now here I am, in a room that is decked
with the red-berried, waxy leafed stuff,

and I almost forget what it's like
to be wet to the skin or longing for snow.

I reach for a book like a doubter
and want it to flare round my hand,

a black-letter bush, a glittering shield-wall
cutting as holly and ice.

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