Twice Shy Poem by Seamus Heaney

Twice Shy

Rating: 3.9

Her scarf a la Bardot,
In suede flats for the walk,
She came with me one evening
For air and friendly talk.
We crossed the quiet river,
Took the embankment walk.

Traffic holding its breath,
Sky a tense diaphragm:
Dusk hung like a backcloth
That shook where a swan swam,
Tremulous as a hawk
Hanging deadly, calm.

A vacuum of need
Collapsed each hunting heart
But tremulously we held
As hawk and prey apart,
Preserved classic decorum,
Deployed our talk with art.

Our Juvenilia
Had taught us both to wait,
Not to publish feeling
And regret it all too late -
Mushroom loves already
Had puffed and burst in hate.

So, chary and excited,
As a thrush linked on a hawk,
We thrilled to the March twilight
With nervous childish talk:
Still waters running deep
Along the embankment walk.

Reed Simpson 23 September 2014

A very good poem that gives lots of different images in your head. First poem I have read by Heaney.

6 7 Reply
James Troughton 23 September 2014

Not a good poem, very confusing, le poem was not enjoyable.

4 7 Reply
Lewis Bell 23 September 2014

This poem comes across very strong, and i feel it creates a lot of bold images in your head.

4 7 Reply
Emma Robson 23 September 2014

I like this poem, first poem i have read by Heaney, very good.

6 5 Reply
Emma Crombie 23 September 2014

The poem creates lots of imagery in the readers head.

4 7 Reply
Bill Wright 03 September 2016

I am reading this as a tale of young love, perhaps first love, not knowing how to deal with it, reluctant to push things too far or too quickly in case you burst the bubble. Great writing, as always, from Heaney.

3 1 Reply
Susan Williams 23 May 2016

This poem abounds in imagery - -there are so many good ones that to point them out would require copying the entire poem! Yes, love-wounded people can be hesitant about flinging their hearts out there to be kicked around like a tin can down the street. Excellent piece.

2 1 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 23 May 2016

We crossed the quiet river! With the muse of love. Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

4 0 Reply
B.m. Biswas 23 May 2016

Your juvenile love was a bliss....the dividend is being given now......lovely poem...

4 0 Reply
Denis Mair 23 May 2016

This is sad because whatever is stirring in their hearts is being used to feed words. They had their brush with love and expressed it in their juvenilia. Mushroom loves cast long shadows. Now they are careful, professionally minded people who don't want to deal with disruptions. At least they manage to have an Apollonian talk. Where is Dionysius? I thought he was on the side of poets.

4 0 Reply
Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney

Castledàwson, County Londonderry
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