Miracle by Seamus Heaney

On the way to church a few weeks ago, I heard this poem read by the man himself in 2012 on Sunday Miscellany, a programme on RTE that I can remember from childhood. What a different perspective – not that of the paralytic, or the watching Pharisees, but this miracle told in honour of those who carried him to Jesus. For all of you caring for or carrying sick loved ones in prayer….

Not the one who takes up his bed and walks
But the ones who have known him all along
And carry him in –

Their shoulders numb, the ache and stoop deeplocked
In their backs, the stretcher handles
Slippery with sweat. And no let up

Until he’s strapped on tight, made tiltable
and raised to the tiled roof, then lowered for healing.
Be mindful of them as they stand and wait

For the burn of the paid out ropes to cool,
Their slight lightheadedness and incredulity
To pass, those who had known him all along.