Friday Poetry Reflection, 11th April


After reading Robert Frost’s Poem “The Road No Taken” on a friends blog, I had an idea for every Friday to post a poem to serve as a reflection at the end of the week. The poem will not be free standing but will have my opinion and why I like the poem and what it means to me.

To start us off I have selected the poem “Mid-term Break” by Seamus Heaney (b. April 1939 – ), Nobel Prize Laurete in Literature 1995

I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close,
At two o’clock our neighbors drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying–
He had always taken funerals in his stride–
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were “sorry for my trouble,”
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o’clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

Wearing a poppy bruise on the left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in a cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year.

I remember learning this poem in 5th or 6th class in Primary School and it has stayed with to this day. It is one of those poems that when I see the first line, I can nearly recite the entire poem.

This poem has an enormous effect on me. I am not sure why, I have not lost a sibbling or anything like that, but a classmate in my Secondary School did die during 2nd Year, maybe that is what connects this poem for me.

Antother reason I like the poem is its rhythm, it flows easily and seams to add to the emotion as it slows near the end.

You never know from these Friday’s I could end up with a Favourite Poems Book!

Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for SpirtualityIreland.org and UCC Express.

2 thoughts on “Friday Poetry Reflection, 11th April”

  1. I read this poem for the first time in the BBC collection The Nation’s Favourite Poems. Like yourself the poem had a great impact on me though I have thankfully not experienced the same loss. The last line “A four foot box, a foot for every year.” hit me like a thunderbolt the first time I read it.

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