"The Hermit" by Seamus Heaney

In "The Hermit," the late Irish poet Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) conjures multiple images according to the reader's experience and feeling. Some see the poem's hermit as the laboring poet himself. Taken literally, the hermit is a farmer in the field, evoking the pastoral poetry that so influenced Heaney, but analogous therefore to any creative person making a creative effort. Ultimately the protagonist is a hermit, meaning that the hermit is wrestling with his earthly task of living, clearing the accretions of thought, experience, society, and the world, to discover the self laying in wait.
From "Station Island," London: Faber, 1984.

"The Hermit" by Seamus Heaney

As he prowled the rim of his clearing
where the blade of choice had not spared
one stump of affection

he was like a ploughshare
interred to sustain the whole field
of force, from the bitted

and high-drawn sideways curve
of the horse’s neck to the aim
held fast in the wrists and elbows -

the more brutal the pull
and the drive, the deeper
and quieter the work of refreshment.