Unformatted text preview: and seems to weep the black river of himself. The grain of his wrists is like bog oak, the ball of his heel like a basalt egg. His instep has shrunk cold as a swan’s foot or a wet swamp root. His hips are the ridge and purse of a mussel, his spine an eel arrested under a glisten of mud. The head lifts, the chin is a visor raised above the vent of his slashed throat that has tanned and toughened. The cured wound opens inwards to a dark elderberry place. Who will say ‘corpse’ to his vivid cast? Who will say ‘body’ to his opaque repose? And his rusted hair, a mat unlikely as a foetus’s. I first saw his twisted face in a photograph, a head and shoulder out of the peat, bruised like a forceps baby, but now he lies perfected in my memory, down to the red horn of his nails, hung in the scales with beauty and atrocity: with the Dying Gaul too strictly compassed on his shield, with the actual weight of each hooded victim, slashed and dumped. Seamus Heaney...
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This note was uploaded on 06/22/2011 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Littlefield during the Fall '08 term at South Carolina.
- Fall '08