October 9, 2012 Scaffolding

Founding member Sara Cohan came to my rescue last week, forwarding on the below Seamus Heaney (anagram: eyes as humane) poem for our reading pleasure. This is from his very first collection, but I’d never read it before. I think Sara had noticed my flagging energy, what with no poem last week, and since I was out of town yesterday and consequently tired to tears today, the gimme is much appreciated. In brief, what can we note about this selection? Rhyming couplets. The typical Heaney harmonies–look at the middle stanza in particular, a happy marriage of alliteration and rounded vowels. And is anyone giving that final word a second look?

-ed.

SCAFFOLDING

Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;

Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints,

And yet all this comes down when the job’s done,
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.

So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me

Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.

 

-1966

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One response to “October 9, 2012 Scaffolding

  1. Reader’s comment: I don’t know if I gave that final word a second look, so much as I heard a Dave Gilmour solo rising after it.

    And bridges breaking, never fear, let the scaffolds fall — the last word isn’t the only ambivalent note….

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