Do you remember the beach


translated from Romanian by Seamus Heaney

Do you remember the beach
Covered with splintered glass,
That beach
Where we couldn’t walk barefoot?
And the way you would gaze
At the sea, and gaze, all absorbed, and say
You were listening to me?
Do you remember
The gulls going wild, wheeling
Round and round as the bells
Chimed out behind us somewhere
In churches that had
Fish for their patron saints?
And how you headed away
At a run
Towards the surf, yelling back
That you needed distance
To be able to see me.
Then the gulls,
The swirl of the snow,
The spray, all of them mingled,
And I would look on
With a kind of desperate elation
As your feet marked the sea,
The sea that would close like an eyelid then
Where I waited and looked.


Excerpted from The Translations of Seamus Heaney by Seamus Heaney and edited by Marco Sonzogni. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Copyright © 2022 by The Estate of Seamus Heaney. Introduction and editorial material copyright © 2022. All rights reserved.

Seamus Heaney
1939 –