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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Poetry Fortifies Your Inner Life


‘If poetry and the arts do anything, they can fortify your inner life, your inwardness.’ – Seamus Heaney

Born on April 13, 1939, Heaney is widely recognized as one of the major poets of the 20th century. A native of Northern Ireland, he was raised in County Derry, and later lived for many years in Dublin.         Author of over 20 volumes of poetry and criticism, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past."     For Saturday’s Poem, here is Heaney’s,

Follower

My father worked with a horse-plough,
His shoulders globed like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The horse strained at his clicking tongue.

An expert. He would set the wing
And fit the bright steel-pointed sock.
The sod rolled over without breaking.
At the headrig, with a single pluck

Of reins, the sweating team turned round
And back into the land. His eye
Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly.

I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake,
Fell sometimes on the polished sod;
Sometimes he rode me on his back
Dipping and rising to his plod.

I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow round the farm.

I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,
Yapping always. But today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away.


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