Mid-Term Break, by Seamus Heaney, 1966
1. I sat all morning in the college sick bay
2. Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
3. At two o'clock our neighbours drove me home.
4. In the porch I met my father crying—
5. He had always taken funerals in his stride—
6. And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.
7. The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
8. When I came in, and I was embarrassed
9. By old men standing up to shake my hand
10. And tell me they were 'sorry for my trouble'.
11. Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
12. Away at school, as my mother held my hand
13. In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
14. At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived
15. With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.
16. Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
17. And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
18. For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,
19. Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
20. He lay in the four-foot box as in his cot.
21. No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.
22. A four-foot box, a foot for every year.
"Mid-Term Break - Poetry Foundation." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation. Web. 19 May 2016.
In the context of the entire poem, what is the purpose of the third stanza (lines 7-9)?