Seamus Heaney


For Marie

Love, I shall perfect for you the child 
Who diligently potters in my brain 
Digging with heavy spade till sods were piled  
Or puddling through muck in a deep drain.

Yearly I would sow my yard-long garden.  
I'd strip a layer of sods to build the wall  
That was to keep out sow and pecking hen.  
Yearly, admitting these, the sods would fall.

Or in the sucking clabber I would splash  
Delightedly and dam the flowing drain,  
But always my bastions of clay and mush  
Would burst before the rising autumn rain.

Love, you shall perfect for me this child 
Whose small imperfect limits would keep breaking:  
Within new limits now, arrange the world 
And square the circle: four walls and a ring.