Winter 2014 (On: Summer 1969, by Seamus Heaney)

Thoughts of reading a text by *S. Heaney,
Bits and pieces of dewed Madrid,
With heavy inflections of Hemingway,
Scattered about within. Bull horns
And drink, and women, and sex. Smell
Of skin, fish parts, and molded excrement.
Emitting and emoting the pawing presence
Of death; Protestant and Catholic,
Rebellions over said claims.
There the air held hot, as one without water,
Lacking, in a vast desert, as a drunk’s hung-over
Morning plight, -head-spin, praying for the noise to fast die,
Lavishing in Great Lakes of the mind.
He spoke of letting it go, as in
Sobering up, as in really feeling this event.
He had been fearing the gun holster
And lack of action in present. Admiring the man
Who hand-gripped the cold barrel steel, afraid to notice.
But all those bleeding bulls, and fish debris, and local
Women, and spent shells counted. Dripping their sweetness
On his fingertips, wet, as the spilt thick
Ink of his pen. Language of stink
And movement. Surely he felt a bit
Satisfied as he sipped a beaded glass of beer
In the city center, in the summer, 1969,
In Madrid, as he wrote his free-verse prose. As he
Let his words come alive and go.

*Singing School (Summer 1969), BY SEAMUS HEANEY

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