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Personal Helicon

 As a child, they could not keep me from wells
And old pumps with buckets and windlasses.
I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells Of waterweed, fungus and dank moss.
One, in a brickyard, with a rotted board top.
I savoured the rich crash when a bucket Plummeted down at the end of a rope.
So deep you saw no reflection in it.
A shallow one under a dry stone ditch Fructified like any aquarium.
When you dragged out long roots from the soft mulch A white face hovered over the bottom.
Others had echoes, gave back your own call With a clean new music in it.
And one Was scaresome, for there, out of ferns and tall Foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection.
Now, to pry into roots, to finger slime, To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring Is beneath all adult dignity.
I rhyme To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.

by Seamus Heaney
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