Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment
CCEA Curriculum Monitoring Programme 2018-19

Last Look

(in memoriam E. G.)

Heaney

We came upon him, stilled
and oblivious,
gazing into a field
of blossoming potatoes,
his trouser bottoms wet
and flecked with grass seed.
Crowned blunt-headed weeds
that flourished in the verge
flailed against our car
but he seemed not to hear
in his long watchfulness
by the clifftop fuchsias.

He paid no heed that day,
no more than if he were
sheep’s wool on barbed wire
or an old lock of hay
combed from a passing load
by a bush in the roadside.

He was back in his twenties,
travelling Donegal
in the grocery cart
of Gallagher and Son,
Merchant, Publican,
Retail and Import.
Flourbags, nosebags, buckets
of water for the horse
in every whitewashed yard.
Drama between hedges
if he met a Model Ford.

If Niamh had ridden up
to make the wide strand sweet
with inviting Irish,
weaving among hoofbeats
and hoofmarks on the wet
dazzle and blaze,
I think not even she
could have drawn him out
from the covert of his gaze.

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