National Poetry Day I

Without comment:

In Illo Tempore


The big missal splayed

and dangled silky ribbons

of emerald and purple and watery white.


Intransitively we would assist,

confess, receive. The verbs

assumed us. We adored.


And we lifted our eyes to the nouns.

Altar stone was dawn and monstrance noon,

the word rubric itself a bloodshot sunset.


Now I live by a famous strand

where seabirds cry in the small hours

like incredible souls


and even the range wall of the promenade

that I press down on for conviction

hardly tempts me to credit it.


Seamus Heaney

From Station Island

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