i.m. Seamus Heaney

Not the digging of potatoes
but the forging of iron implements
produced those shoulders
and the biceps I pressed—
a little boy’s hand on the father’s bulge
a swelling roughly the same shape

as the hammer’s head
I still have, along with his chisel
as thick as my wrist was thin.
Tools hand-made, part-time
in time stolen from the boss
at the Victorian Railways Erecting Shop—

one of the great sheds among many
in the long dry grass with the thistles
out past the Abattoirs
on the way to the back beach:
ribbed sand, soldier crabs, an oily creek
eels a bike ride from home

me sitting on the little padded seat
the iron-framed perch between his arms
near the handle bars
his breath a bellows on my neck
his kind fire always there
as he peddled me into the Southerly.

*

Barry Hill’s Kind Fire is the title poem in a book of poetry that was to be launched by Paul Carter at IPCS in late April. We look forward to coming together to celebrate Barry and his words on the other side of isolation. Barry is is an award winning writer of poetry, history and fiction and an IPCS member.