Believe English

Scaffolding

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.

                         – Seamus Heaney

When workers make a house
they need to support the walls

The support has to be strong
everything has to be just right

But they don't need the support
when they are done.

Sometimes we fight
with each other

But it's ok,
because we are true friends.



  

Masons ​people who work with stone or brick
​Scaffolding ​ a support structure

​Planks ​Boards, flat pieces of wood
​Bolt  ​ a kind of screw

​Comes down ​ Taken away, removed
​Showing off  ​Revealing, pride

​Bridges ​ Connections, relationships


​Never fear  ​Don't worry
​Confident ​ To believe, to be sure


  




  


  


  


 

Commentary

     In this poem Seamus Heaney is describing the way people build friendships. He wants us to know that it takes work and patience to make a good friend. But he also says that once we have a true friend, we can trust them completely.

I think this can also mean when we try to talk to people in English we have to know a little bit about the language. There are rules and we have to think about them and imagine how the other person is trying to understand us.  When we trust each other, when we believe in each other, and we are truly listening to each other– we don’t have to worry about the rules and making mistakes. When we want to understand each other we will find a way around each other’s mistakes. “My English is not good” will not be an excuse to avoid talking to each other, it will be an invitation to be a better listener.


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