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    Seamus Heaney - Mid-Term Break

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    poetictouch

    by poetictouch

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    Seamus Heaney reads his poem Mid-Term Break at Villanova University - Pennsylvania - 20 April 2010.

    Mid-Term Break
    by Seamus Heaney (1939-)

    I sat all morning in the college sick bay
    Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
    At two o'clock our neighbors drove me home.

    In the porch I met my father crying —
    He had always taken funerals in his stride —
    And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

    The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
    When I came in, and I was embarrassed
    By old men standing up to shake my hand

    And tell me they were "sorry for my trouble,"
    Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
    Away at school, as my mother held my hand

    In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
    At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived
    With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

    Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
    And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
    For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

    Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
    He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.
    No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

    A four foot box, a foot for every year.