Monday, 18 June 2012

Oysters in Poetry

I was lucky to meet up with Seamus Heaney over the weekend and heard him recite his poem about oysters!

Our shells clacked on the plates. 
My tongue was a filling estuary, 
My palate hung with starlight: 
As I tasted the salty Pleiades 
Orion dipped his foot into the water.
 Alive and violated, 
They lay on their bed of ice: 
Bivalves: the split bulb 
And philandering sigh of ocean 
Millions of them ripped and shucked and scattered. 
We had driven to that coast 
Through flowers and limestone 
And there we were, toasting friendship, 
Laying down a perfect memory 
In the cool of thatch and crockery.
Over the Alps, packed deep in hay and snow,
 The Romans hauled their oysters south of Rome: 
I saw damp panniers disgorge 
The frond-lipped, brine-stung Glut of privilege
And was angry that my trust could not repose
 In the clear light, like poetry or freedom
 Leaning in from sea.
 I ate the day Deliberately, 
that its tang Might quicken me all into verb,
 pure verb.