Seamus Heaney


Fishermen at Ballyshannon  
Netted an infant last night  
Along with the salmon. 
An illegitimate spawning, 
A small one thrown back 
To the waters. But I'm sure 
As she stood in the shallows  
Ducking him tenderly 
Till the frozen knobs of her wrists  
Were dead as the gravel, 
He was a minnow with hooks  
Tearing her open. 
She waded in under 
The sign of her cross. 
He was hauled in with the fish.  
Now limbo will be 
A cold glitter of souls 
Through some far briny zone.  
Even Christ's palms, unhealed,  
Smart and cannot fish there.