I’ve been sharing an Irish love poem every week, and the poem Scaffolding by Seamus Heaney is definitely worth its feature. ‘Scaffolding‘ is one of Seamus Heaney’s first-ever poems, written around the time he married his wife of 48 years, Marie Devlin. A short but touching Irish love poem.
“Scaffolding” by Seamus Heaney is a beautiful love poem that uses the metaphor of building scaffolding to explore the dynamics of a loving and supportive relationship between two individuals. The poem was written for his wife, Marie Devlin, and it elegantly captures the essence of a strong and enduring partnership.
The poem begins with the speaker comparing the strength and steadiness of a scaffolding structure to the love that holds the two individuals together. Scaffolding is a temporary structure built around a building under construction, providing support and stability until the building stands on its own. Similarly, Heaney sees their love as the foundation that supports and strengthens their relationship.
Scaffolding By Seamus Heaney
Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me
Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.
In “Scaffolding,” Seamus Heaney celebrates the love he shares with his wife, appreciating the moments of closeness and understanding as well as the occasional distance that their bond can withstand. The poem beautifully captures the complexities of love and the endurance required to build and maintain a strong and lasting connection.