Seamus Heaney

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

Twice Shy - Poem by Seamus Heaney

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.


Comments about Twice Shy by Seamus Heaney

  • (9/3/2016 10:56:00 AM)


    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. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Susan Williams (5/23/2016 6:37:00 PM)


    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. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (5/23/2016 5:49:00 AM)


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

  • B.m. Biswas (5/23/2016 5:46:00 AM)


    Your juvenile love was a bliss....the dividend is being given now......lovely poem... (Report) Reply

  • Denis Mair (5/23/2016 4:04:00 AM)


    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. (Report) Reply

  • (5/23/2016 1:46:00 AM)


    you can be in your Juvenilia all your life not being taught anything by it (Report) Reply

  • (2/7/2016 7:51:00 PM)


    i like bananas and eating them in a jungle with my monkey friends but no worries because I am a good boy ;) (Report) Reply

  • (1/23/2016 9:37:00 AM)


    i like HER SCARF A LA BARDOT)) (Report) Reply

  • (1/16/2016 9:04:00 PM)


    This poem remind me a bit F.G. Llorca. I like (Report) Reply

  • (9/23/2014 3:58:00 PM)


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

  • (9/23/2014 7:43:00 AM)


    Gives you many different images in your head (Report) Reply

  • (9/23/2014 7:43:00 AM)


    Not a good poem, very confusing, le poem was not enjoyable. (Report) Reply

  • (9/23/2014 7:43:00 AM)


    This poem is very interesting and has lots of imagery. I think that this poem is great. (Report) Reply

  • (9/23/2014 7:43:00 AM)


    I enjoyed this poem as it is interesting and I like how it rhymes, in each stanza. (Report) Reply

  • (9/23/2014 7:43:00 AM)


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

  • (9/23/2014 7:43:00 AM)


    I really like the poem and how it creates intresting images in your head. (Report) Reply

  • (9/23/2014 7:43:00 AM)


    I like this poem, first poem i have read by Heaney, very good. (Report) Reply

  • (9/23/2014 7:42:00 AM)


    This poem creates a lot of good images in your head, its great. (Report) Reply

  • (9/23/2014 7:42:00 AM)


    I did not enjoy le poem, it was very confusing and therefor I did not enjoy it. I dislikey le poem. (Report) Reply

  • (9/23/2014 7:42:00 AM)


    Heaney's imagery! He is a wonderful poet! (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, December 28, 2011



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