But the ones who have known him all along
And carry him in -
Their shoulders numb, the ache and stoop deeplocked
In their backs, the stretcher handles
Slippery with sweat. And no let up
Until he's strapped on tight, made tiltable
and raised to the tiled roof, then lowered for healing.
Be mindful of them as they stand and wait
For the burn of the paid out ropes to cool,
Their slight lightheadedness and incredulity
To pass, those who had known him all along.
"Obviously Heaney's lowered someone close into the ground; that's how he knows the rope burns." He's lowered someone close into the ground, that's how he recognises what I'd missed in the slim volume shared over a decaff latte in Waterstone's Birmingham, this morning. There must be Remembrance, and there must be recognition of those who survived, too.