Finishing with Heaney

My cheek was hit and hit:

sudden hailstones

pelted and bounced on the road.

When it cleared again

something whipped and knowledgeable

had withdrawn

and left me there with my chances.

I made a small hard ball

of burning water running from my hand

just as I make this now

out of the melt of the real thing

smarting into its absence.

To be reckoned with, all the same,

those brats of showers.

The way they refused permission,

Rattling the classroom window

like a ruler across the knuckles,

the way they were perfect first

and then in no time dirty slush …

(Seamus Heaney)


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