Sunday Poem

Quitting Time

The hosed-down chamfered concrete pleases him.
He’ll wait a while before he kills the light
on the cleaned up yard, its pails and farrowing crate,
And the cast-iron pump immobile as a herm
Upstanding elsewhere, in another time.
More and more this last look at the wet
Shine of the place is what means most to him —
And to repeat the phrase “My head is light,”
Because it often is as he reaches back
And switches off, a home-based man at home
In the end with little. Except this same
Night after nightness, redding up the work,
The song of the tubular steel gate in the dark
As he pulls it and starts his uphill trek.

by Seamus Heaney
from District and Circle
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006