“Had I Not Been Awake”

Had I not been awake I would have missed it,
A wind that rise and whirled until the roof
Pattered with quick leaves off the sycamore

And got me up, the whole of me a-patter,
Alive and ticking like an electric fence:
Had I not been awake I would have missed it,

It came and went so unexpectedly
And almost it seemed dangerously,
Returning like an animal to the house,

A courier blast that there and then
Lapsed ordinary. But not ever
After. And not now.

-Seamus Heaney

This poem is from Heaney’s recent volume, Human Chain. Thank you to my dear freshly marrieds, Anne and David, for giving this book to me and knowing how much I love Heaney’s work.

Note: I am in California for a week. Time with my daughter in LA. Dinner at Animal. Seeing the new Resnick Wing of LACMA. Visiting the Irwin gardens at the Getty. Performance of “Ruined” by Lynn Nottage. Visiting with dear friends, both in LA and SF. Blue Bottle coffee. Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building. So glad I’ll be awake for all of it.

I will return on Monday October 11.

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