The Early Purges Poem by Seamus Heaney

The Early Purges

Rating: 2.9

I was six when I first saw kittens drown.
Dan Taggart pitched them, 'the scraggy wee shits',
Into a bucket; a frail metal sound,

Soft paws scraping like mad. But their tiny din
Was soon soused. They were slung on the snout
Of the pump and the water pumped in.

'Sure, isn't it better for them now?' Dan said.
Like wet gloves they bobbed and shone till he sluiced
Them out on the dunghill, glossy and dead.

Suddenly frightened, for days I sadly hung
Round the yard, watching the three sogged remains
Turn mealy and crisp as old summer dung

Until I forgot them. But the fear came back
When Dan trapped big rats, snared rabbits, shot crows
Or, with a sickening tug, pulled old hens' necks.

Still, living displaces false sentiments
And now, when shrill pups are prodded to drown
I just shrug, 'Bloody pups'. It makes sense:

'Prevention of cruelty' talk cuts ice in town
Where they consider death unnatural
But on well-run farms pests have to be kept down.

P. Mason 18 December 2016

Reality has pain and consequences. All to often we loose sight of this in the sterile environment of contemporary life. Nice piece of reality here from Heaney.

25 14 Reply
Conor power 29 January 2018

Hah yeah cuzzzz

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Bill Wright 03 September 2016

A very good comment on the reality of rural life compared to the urban dwellers. Death is a common occurrence in the country.

18 9 Reply
p mason 27 May 2019

u wanna go...................

0 1 Reply
patrick quirke 27 May 2019

love da bit of poetry boys

2 1 Reply
bon bon 27 May 2019

shure its grand pat

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bobby ryan 27 May 2019

hi o

1 1 Reply
Pablo Pablo 02 May 2019

This is Trash EEEEEEEEEEEEE oke

0 1 Reply
Patricia 01 May 2019

I’m absolutely disgusted with these comments disgraceful I’m telling Michael di higgs

3 2 Reply
Pablo 02 May 2019


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Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney

Castledàwson, County Londonderry
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