Fishermen at Ballyshannon
Netted an infant last night
Along with the salmon.
An illegitimate spawning,

A small one thrown back
To the waters. But I'm sure
As she stood in the shallows
Ducking him tenderly

Till the frozen knobs of her wrists
Were dead as the gravel,
He was a minnow with hooks
Tearing her open.

She waded in under
The sign of the cross.
He was hauled in with the fish.
Now limbo will be

A cold glitter of souls
Through some far briny zone.
Even Christ's palms, unhealed,
Smart and cannot fish there.

by Seamus Heaney

Comments (2)

Not see the pain and darkness in this poem...the struggle it serves to describe, seems almost beyond words.
Gosh, this is a powerful poem, probably occasioned by a newspaper article about a baby being found by fishermen, perhaps stillborn to an unmarried mother who wanted to hide the fact.