Seamus Heaney, St. Mary’s, Bellaghy

by Lex Runciman


You being gone now, vanished
And everywhere, we find you
And fail to find you, grave and marker
Inside the fence, just –
Closer to field than to nave or door.
Others have brought stones

As I see now I could have,
Basalt made oval, say, multiply concussed
By that ever surge and wash
Below Yaquina Head light, a far offering,
And ballast against a squally morning.
But no.  Empty-handed,

I squat down at your feet
To read, to speak, the words
In your mouth first Walk on air
Against your better judgement.
There. I have said them aloud
Because you did and now cannot,

Night’s rains over, torn clouds hurrying,
And I turn away glad in my heart.




Lex Runciman has published six collections of poems, including Salt Moons: Poems 1981-2016 (Salmon Poetry, 2017). An earlier volume, The Admirations, won the Oregon Book Award. He taught for 25 years at Linfield College.