As if

As if the light itself
Were merely a plant, as if the stars
Sent down their thin rays
Like capillary roots
Sucking at me, to extract
Their mysterious nutrient.
Astral blooms flock to the scalpel
Like crows to the plough.

The size of this field of light scares me.
With so many flowers to feed, I’m worn
To the bone, fulfilled and woozy with love.
And whom can I call for assistance?
Will nobody rid me, root, stem and branch,
Of this star-sprouting garden,
Burst the galactic, numinous dykes
And make way for the ocean of darkness?


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 –