Sunday, January 21, 2007

Digging by Seamus Heaney

Saw a play called 'Excavators' at Prithvi yest. Was interesting to say the least! I like the way we can use the word interesting in such different contexts, niceness that ees! So anyways, have watched the same group perform a different play called 'Butter and Mashed Bananas' previously. This is the Harami Theatre frm Bangalore btw! So watched them and went for this one with a whole lot of expectations! Got dashed and lost the plot midway..liked some parts and the actors are very good so watched and was thinking mins wot mins wot! Some oarts were plain funny but some parts well henh it was!

But they gave us this piece of paper at Prithvi..saw Shashi Kapoor there btw and a whole lot of Xavierites there as well. Shall tell Dee all abt it! On the piece of paper they had this poetry by this dude called Seamus Heaney called Digging. It merits a post in my opinion.


Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; as snug as a gun.

Under my window a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade,
Just like his old man.

My grandfather could cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner's bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, digging down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mold, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it.

You can also read about Seamus here -

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