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STORM ON THE ISLAND

By Seamus Heaney

We are prepared: we build our houses squat,
Sink walls in rock and roof them with good slate.
The wizened earth has never troubled us
With hay,
so as you can see, there are no stacks
Or stooks that can be lost. Nor are there trees
Which might prove company
when it blows full

Blast: you know what I mean - leaves and branches
Can raise a
chorus in a gale
So that you can listen to the thing you fear
Forgetting that it pummels your house too.
But there are
no trees, no natural shelter.
But no: when it begins, the flung spray hits
The very windows, spits like a tame cat
Turned savage.
. We just sit tight while wind dives
And strafes invisibly. Space is a salvo.
We are bombarded by the empty air.
Strange, it is a
huge nothing that we fear.