My cheek was hit and hit:
pelted and bounced on the road.
When it cleared again
something whipped and knowledgeable
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