Archive for September 25th, 2016

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Banks of a Canal by Seamus Justin Heaney

(Banks of a Canal, near Naples, painting by Gustave Caillebotte, c1872)

Say ‘canal’ and there’s that final vowel
Towing silence with it, slowing time
To a walking pace, a path, a whitewashed gleam
Of dwellings at the skyline. World stands still.
The stunted concrete mocks the classical.
Water says, ‘My place here is in dream,
In quiet good standing. Like a sleeping stream,
Come rain or sullen shine I’m peaceable.’
Stretched to the horizon, placid ploughland,
The sky not truly bright or overcast:
I know that clay, the damp and dirt of it,
The coolth along the bank, the grassy zest
Of verges, the path not narrow but still straight
Where soul could mind itself or stray beyond.


Date: 2013

By: Seamus Justin Heaney (1939-2013)