Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me
Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.
"Scaffolding" from Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966–1996 by Seamus Heaney. Copyright © 1998 by Seamus Heaney.
About this Poem
“Scaffolding” appears in Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966–1996 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999).
Born in Ireland in 1939, Seamus Heaney was the author of numerous poetry collections, including Human Chain (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010). He split his time between Dublin, Ireland, and Boston, where he taught at Harvard University for many years. In 1995, Heaney received the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Date Published: 2016-05-18
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/scaffolding