I'd come to with the night wind on my face,
Agog, alert again, but far, far less
Focused on victory than I should have been -
Still isolated in my old disdain
Of claques who always needed to be seen
And heard as the true Argives. Mouth athletes,
quoting the oracle and quoting dates,
Petioning, accusing, taking votes.
No element that should have carried weight
Out of the grievous distance would translate
Our war stalled in the pre-articulate.
The little violets' heads bowed on their stems,
The pre-dawn gossamers, all dew and scrim
And star-lace, it was more through them
I felt the beating of the huge time-wound
We lived inside. My soul wept in my hand
When I would touch them, my whole being rained
Down on myself, I saw cities of grass,
Valleys of longing, tombs, a wind-swept brightness,
And far-off, in a hilly, ominous place,
Small crowds of people watching as a man
Jumped a fresh earth-wall and another ran
Amorously, it seemed, to strike him down.
Seamus Heaney, 'Mycenae Lookout', The Spirit Level, Faber & Faber, 1996.