Elegy for a Still-Born Child (ca.1966)

I.
Your mother walks light as an empty creel
Unlearning the intimate nudge and pull

Your trussed-up weight of seed-flesh and bone-curd
Had insisted on. That evicted world

Contracts rounds its history, its scar.
Doomsday struck when your collapsed sphere

Extinguished itself in our atmosphere,
Your mother heavy with the lightness in her.

II.
For six months you stayed cartographer
Charting my friend from husband towards father.

He guessed a globe behind your steady mound.
Then the pole fell, shooting star, into the ground.

III.
On lonely journeys I think of it all,
Birth of death, exhumation for burial;

A wreath of small clothes, a memorial pram
And parents reaching for a phantom limb.

I drive by remote control on this bare road
Under a drizzling sky, a circling rock.

Past mountains fields full to the brim with cloud.
White waves riding home on a winter lough.

Seamus Heaney

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