Seamus Heaney

Rookie (April 13,1939 - August 30, 2013 / Castledàwson, County Londonderry)

The Early Purges - Poem by Seamus Heaney

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.

Comments about The Early Purges by Seamus Heaney

  • (5/14/2018 9:53:00 AM)

    Lads lads leave Anita alone (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • P. Mason (12/18/2016 8:04:00 PM)

    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.
    (Report) Reply

    (3/1/2018 11:16:00 AM)

    Anita Hug calm ur he did nothing wrong🤷🏾‍♂️

    (1/29/2018 6:09:00 AM)

    Hah yeah cuzzzz

    (12/15/2017 6:30:00 AM)

    Exactly Anita hug, some people look up synonyms online and think they’re all that. Go back to ur country fat bitch and eat ur burgers and fat chips fat cunt

    (12/15/2017 6:27:00 AM)

    Shut up p.Mason, fat bitch no one likes you, you think you're the modern Shakespeare's with the synonyms you looked up on google.

  • (9/3/2016 10:37:00 AM)

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

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Poem Edited: Wednesday, December 28, 2011

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