Seamus Heaney


My father worked with a horse-plough,  
His shoulders globed like a full sail strung  
Between the shafts and the furrow. 
The horses 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.