• From the frontier of writing

    The tightness and the nilness round that space

    when the car stops in the road, the troops inspect

    its make and number and, as one bends his face


    towards your window, you catch sight of more

    on a hill beyond, eyeing with intent

    down cradled guns that hold you under cover


    and everything is pure interrogation

    until a rifle motions and you move

    with guarded unconcerned acceleration


    a little emptier, a little spent

    as always by that quiver in the self,

    subjugated, yes, and obedient.


    So you drive on to the frontier of writing

    where it happens again. The guns on tripods;

    the sergeant with his on-off mike repeating


    data about you, waiting for the squawk

    of clearance; the marksman training down

    out of the sun, upon you like a hawk


    And suddenly you're through, arraigned yet freed,

    as if you'd passed from behind a waterfall

    on the black current of a tarmac road


    past armor-plated vehicles, out between

    the posted soldiers flowing and receding

    like tree shadows into the polished windscreen


    Seamus Heaney

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