Inishbofin on a Sunday morning.
Sunlight, turfsmoke, seagulls, boatslip, diesel.
One by one we were being handed down
Into a boat that dipped and shilly-shallied
Scaresomely every time. We sat tight
On short cross-benches, in nervous twos and threes,
Obedient, newly close, nobody speaking
Except the boatmen, as the gunwales sank
And seemed they might ship water any minute.
The sea was very calm but even so,
When the engine kicked and our ferryman
Swayed for balance, grabbing for the tiller,
I panicked at the quick response and heft
Of the craft itself. What guaranteed us–
That fluency and buoyancy and swim–
Kept me in agony. All the time
As we went sailing evenly across
The deep, still seeable-down-into water,
It was as if I looked from another boat
Sailing through air, far up, and could see
How openly we fared in the light of morning,
And loved in vain our bare, bowed, numbered heads.

Seeing Things: Seamus Heaney