The final poem in my Seamus Heaney selection today and it's the title poem from his most recent collection 'Human Chain.' In it, he describes a moment of letting go, and although the subject matter is the movements of lifting and letting go of sacks - both aid workers and personal work - you can't help but feel the intimations of the end of mortality too, 'a letting go which will not come again. Or it will, once. And for all.'
Human Chain - Seamus Heaney
for Terence Brown
Seeing the bags of meal passed hand to hand
In close-up by the aid workers, and soldiers
Firing over the mob, I was braced again
With a grip on two sack corners,
Two packed wads of grain I'd worked to lugs
To give me purchase, ready for the heave -
The eye-to-eye, one-two, one-two upswing
On to the trailer, then the stoop and drag and drain
Of the next lift. Nothing surpassed
That quick unburdening, backbreak's truest payback,
A letting go which will not come again.
Or it will, once. And for all.