POETRY: The Turnip-Snedder by Seamus Heaney

The Turnip-Snedder by Seamus Heaney

For Hughie O’Donoghue

In an age of bare hands
and cast iron,

the clamp-on meat-mincer,
the double flywheeled water-pump,

it dug its heels in among wooden tubs
and troughs of slops,

hotter than body heat
in summertime, cold in winter

as winter’s body armour,
a barrel-chested breast-plate

standing guard
on four braced greaves.

“this is the way that God sees life,”
it said, “from seedling-braird to snedder,”

as the handle turned
and turnip-heads were let fall and fed

to the juiced-up inner blades,
“This is the turnip-cycle,”

as it dropped its raw sliced mess,
bucketful by glistering bucketful.

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