Take a Stanza – Scaffolding

At some point in my life I had this one memorized; it felt good having it rattle around in my head. It’s one of my favorites from Seamus Heaney—more tender than most of his poems, but still infused with his working-class vigor.


Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;

Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.

And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.

So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me

Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.

Read more about Seamus Heaney at the Poetry Archive.

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3 Responses to Take a Stanza – Scaffolding

  1. Aunt Ginny says:

    This is really lovely- thanks!

  2. Alex Ezell says:

    I have yet to get over Heaney’s “Digging.” It’s been in my head for over 10 years. I used to teach it to my high school freshmen. A challenging work for that age, but so rewarding once you play with it.

  3. Melissa says:

    I was googling for adviser / advisor and the results led me here.

    I love Heaney! Mid-Term Break is my favourite.


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