A Poem For Sunday

Sep 1 2013 @ 1:52pm
by Alice Quinn

From “Clearances” by Seamus Heaney:

In Memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984

The cool that came off sheets just off the line
Made me think the damp must still be in them
But when I took my corners of the linen
And pulled against her, first straight down the hem
And then diagonally, then flapped and shook
The fabric like a sail in a cross-wind,
They made a dried-out undulating thwack.
So we’d stretch and fold and end up hand to hand
For a split second as if nothing had happened
For nothing had that had not always happened
Beforehand, day by day, just touch and go,
Coming close again by holding back
In moves where I was x and she was o
Inscribed in sheets she’d sewn from ripped-out flour sacks.

(From Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966-1996 © 1996 by Seamus Heaney. Used by kind permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux)