Shadow Dancing. Scaffolding, by Seamus Heaney.
Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me
Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.
Seamus Heaney, 1939 - 2013
Why was Scaffolding, by Seamus Heaney selected?
With St. Patrick’s Day coming up I was thinking that it would be appropriate for Hummingbird to pay tribute to one of our acclaimed Irish poets. Of course I started off with the most famous among them, Yeats, Kavanaugh, Clarke, Duncan. While I was researching I became aware of the large and impressive body of work of Seamus Heaney. So… I began reading— looking for something that was applicable to both the times in which we are living and the mission of Hummingbird. Scaffolding was selected because it honors friendship and the strength of relationships. I particularly enjoyed the simplicity and lyrical quality of these verses juxtaposed with the solidity of the “walls” behind them.
We invite your comments about Scaffolding, as well as your recommendations for future selections.
“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” Carl Sandburg
Nearly a year and a half ago, when we were celebrating our first Hummingbird Valentine’s Day, we planned a bit of a posting extravaganza. We had a special greeting, commentary, musings, a quote, artwork, and a beautiful love poem by e.e. cummings. We had never posted a poem before and were pleasantly surprised to find that it was the most read post of the day, and in fact it was read continuously for the weeks that followed. So, with that in mind, we invited Contributor Lynda Bernard to introduce a new poem periodically from among her favorites, along with a note about “why” the poem was selected to be featured. Be prepared to be reminded with each selection of the beauty that can be achieved when imagination is invoked and pen is put to paper.
Today, I was pulled off the bench to fill in for Lynda. She’ll be back next time!