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Archiver > IRELAND > 2007-01 > 1169422928

From: "Jean R." <>
Subject: [IRELAND] "Old Smoothing Iron" - Derry-born Seamus HEANEY (contemp.)
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2007 15:42:08 -0800


Often I watched her lift it
from where its compact wedge
rode the back of the stove
like a tug at anchor.

To test its heat she'd stare
and spit in its iron face
or hold it up next her cheek
to divine the stored danger.

Soft thumps on the ironing board.
Her dimpled angled elbow
and intent stoop
as she aimed the smoothing iron

like a plane into linen,
like the resentment of women,
To work, her dumb lunge says,
is to move a certain mass

through a certain distance,
is to pull your weight and feel
exact and equal to it.
Feel dragged upon. And buoyant.

-- Seamus Heaney

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