Poetry Corner Hailstones

Whilst moaning about the weather that Orkney often throws our way in “Summer” I should remember that things could be much worse. On this day 1923, 1 kilo hailstones killed  23 people and  a great number of coos in Rostov, Russia. So even though it’s summer, here is a wee poem about Hailstones.


My cheek was hit and hit:
sudden hailstones
pelted and bounced on the road.

When it cleared again
something whipped and knowledgeable
had withdrawn

and left me there with my chances.
I made a small hard ball
of burning water running from my hand

just as I make this now
out of the melt of the real thing
smarting into its absence.

To be reckoned with, all the same,
those brats of showers.
The way they refused permission,

rattling the classroom window
like a ruler across the knuckles,
the way they were perfect first

and then in no time dirty slush.
Thomas Traherne had his orient wheat
for proof and wonder

but for us, it was the sting of the hailstones
and the unstingable hands of Eddie Diamond
foraging in the nettles.

Nipple and hive, bite lumps,
small acorns of the almost pleasurable
intimated and disallowed

when the shower ended
and everything said wait.
For what? For forty years

to say there, there you had
the truest foretaste of your aftermath –
in that dilation

when the light opened in silence
and a car with wipers going still
laid perfect tracks in the slush.

Written by Seamus Heaney

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