The Face of the Poet
After Seamus Heaney’s photo in the New York Times, 31 August 2013
The nose more like a trowel than a pen
Centers the poet’s countenance
Ready to sniff out the truth and close to the ground,
Rounded and oval, savage and noble.
The lips can break either way: slightly open, oyster-like,
Or, heart-shaped, to utter words with Ulster percussive sounds
Particular to the parish and field of the locale.
This mouth shaped like a bone bow carried by Scythian horsemen
Ever ready to spring arrows of surprise, unloose darts of inwit;
Its upper lip dip has comic possibilities of a sneeze.
The forehead and cheekbone worn smooth upon the cranium;
Arched eye-brows topping the dark pools of vision unprotected by lashes
Razor-wire upon the fences of surveillance cameras extinguished.
The coiffure has a touch of the barbarian
The unscissored tuft as an anticolonial glib.
Dig here for the soul of man, the face might
Gently purr, quietly tell the virtues, or wince, weep, or keen
Right there on our spoken earth.