Follower by Seamus Heaney (1939­2013)

My father worked with a horse­plough,

His shoulders globed like a full sail strung

Between the shafts and the furrow.

The horse strained at his clicking tongue.

 

An expert. He would set the wing

And fit the bright steel­pointed sock.

The sod rolled over without breaking.

At the headrig, with a single pluck

 

Of reins, the sweating team turned round

And back into the land. His eye

Narrowed and angled at the ground,

Mapping the furrow exactly.

 

I stumbled in his hob­nailed wake,

Fell sometimes on the polished sod;

Sometimes he rode me on his back

Dipping and rising to his plod.

 

I wanted to grow up and plough,

To close one eye, stiffen my arm.

All I ever did was follow

In his broad shadow round the farm.

 

I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,

Yapping always. But today

It is my father who keeps stumbling

Behind me, and will not go away.

Follower by Seamus Heaney (1939­2013)