It looked like a clump of small dusty nettles
Growing wild at the gable of the house
Beyond where we dumped our refuse and old bottles:
Unverdant ever, almost beneath notice.
But, to be fair, it also spelled promise
And newness in the backyard of our life
As if something callow yet tenacious
Sauntered in green alleys and grew rife.
The snip of scissor blades, the light of Sunday
Morning when the mint was cut and loved:
My last things will be first things slipping from me.
Yet all things go free that have survived.
Let the smells of mint go heady and defenceless
Like inmates liberated in that yard.
Like the disregarded ones we turned against
Because we'd failed them by our disregard.
Seamus Heaney, The Spirit Level, Faber & Faber, 1996