Sloe Gin

By Seamus Heaney

The clear weather of juniper
darkened into winter.
She fed gin to sloes
and sealed the glass container.

When I unscrewed it
I smelled the disturbed
tart stillness of a bush
rising through the pantry.

When I poured it
it had a cutting edge
and flamed
like Betelguese.

I drink to you
in smoke-mirled, blue-black
polished sloes, savage
and reliable.

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