08-30-2013, 08:17 AM #1
Irish Poet, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, has died
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down
Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.
The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.
By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.
My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner's bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.
The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it.“Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all." -Abp Oscar Romero
08-30-2013, 08:18 AM #2
I am so sad to hear this.
RIP"If at first you don't succeed, skydiving isn't for you!"
The above post is my opinion and my opinion only. Please do not copy and past to other forums. If I wanted to posted on other forums, I would do it myself. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated in this matter.
08-30-2013, 08:47 AM #3Registered User
- Join Date
- Sep 2010
This makes me so sad. He was my favorite.
One of my favorite pieces is Punishment: http://robbieblair.com/punishment-se...text-analysis/
If you've never heard his voice, listen to him read Bogland here:
My day is ruined. Heaney was full of heart.
Last edited by KateB; 06-14-2015 at 11:58 AM. Reason: repair url tag.
08-30-2013, 09:00 AM #4
one of my faves
rest peacefully Seamus
08-30-2013, 09:14 AM #5Registered User
- Join Date
- Nov 2008
Feels like I have lost a dear friend.
Unless I have included a link, it is my opinion and only my opinion that I am expressing.
08-30-2013, 10:53 AM #6
Seamus - rhymes with famous, and Heaney had been called Seamus Famous from early in his storied career - Heaney: "the end of art is peace," he wrote, in a poem called 'The Harvest Bow,' words he himself took from Yeats, and I heard him read it, and many others, long ago, sat with him with drinks at the "do" after the reading. Requiescat in pace then, Seamus Famous. As Auden wrote of Yeats: "Let the Irish vessel lie / Emptied of its poetry."
Tributes paid to ‘keeper of language’ Seamus Heaney. (Irish Times)
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the death of Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney today has brought a “great sorrow to Ireland” and only the poet himself could describe the depth of his loss to the nation.
Mr Kenny said: “For us, Seamus Heaney was the keeper of language, our codes, our essence as a people”.
08-30-2013, 11:14 AM #7
The Strand at Lough Beg
In Memory of Colum McCartney
All round this little island, on the strand
Far down below there, where the breakers strive
Grow the tall rushes from the oozy sand.
– Dante, Purgatorio, I, 100-3
Leaving the white glow of filling stations
And a few lonely streetlamps among fields
You climbed the hills toward Newtownhamilton
Past the Fews Forest, out beneath the stars –
Along the road, a high, bare pilgrim's track
Where Sweeney fled before the bloodied heads,
Goat-beards and dogs' eyes in a demon pack
Blazing out of the ground, snapping and squealing.
What blazed ahead of you? A faked road block?
The red lamp swung, the sudden brakes and stalling
Engine, voices, heads hooded and the cold-nosed gun?
Or in your driving mirror, tailing headlights
That pulled out suddenly and flagged you down
Where you weren't known and far from what you knew:
The lowland clays and waters of Lough Beg,
Church Island's spire, its soft treeline of yew.
There you once heard guns fired behind the house
Long before rising time, when duck shooters
Haunted the marigolds and bulrushes,
But still were scared to find spent cartridges,
Acrid, brassy, genital, ejected,
On your way across the strand to fetch the cows.
For you and yours and yours and mine fought shy,
Spoke an old language of conspirators
And could not crack the whip or seize the day:
Big-voiced scullions, herders, feelers round
Haycocks and hindquarters, talkers in byres,
Slow arbitrators of the burial ground.
Across that strand of ours the cattle graze
Up to their bellies in an early mist
And now they turn their unbewildered gaze
To where we work our way through squeaking sedge
Drowning in dew. Like a dull blade with its edge
Honed bright, Lough Beg half shines under the haze.
I turn because the sweeping of your feet
Has stopped behind me, to find you on your knees
With blood and roadside muck in your hair and eyes,
Then kneel in front of you in brimming grass
And gather up cold handfuls of the dew
To wash you, cousin. I dab you clean with moss
Fine as the drizzle out of a low cloud.
I lift you under the arms and lay you flat.
With rushes that shoot green again, I plait
Green scapulars to wear over your shroud.
From "Station Island":
.........‘'But they were getting crisis
first-hand, Colum, they had happened in on
live sectarian assassination.
I was dumb, encountering what was destined.’
And so I pleaded with my second cousin.
‘I kept seeing a grey stretch of Lough Beg
and the strand empty at daybreak.
I felt like the bottom of a dried-up lake.’
‘You saw that, and you wrote that — not the fact.
You confused evasion and artistic tact.
The Protestant who shot me through the head
I accuse directly, but indirectly, you
who now atone perhaps upon this bed
for the way you whitewashed ugliness and drew
the lovely blinds of the Purgatorio
and saccharined my death with morning dew.’
There have never been many poets fit to deal with the ghosts their poetry kicks alive. Here, Heaney did. His late cousin Colum's reply in the cutting from 'Station Island' constitutes perhaps the best sequence Seamus Heaney ever wrote. For Colum's ghost has caught him out.
08-30-2013, 12:09 PM #8
08-30-2013, 12:25 PM #9
Another poem, Mid-Term Break, written about his little brother who died in an accident while he was away at school.
I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o'clock our neighbors drove me home.
In the porch I met my father crying--
He had always taken funerals in his stride--
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.
The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand
And tell me they were "sorry for my trouble,"
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand
In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.
Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,
Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.
A four foot box, a foot for every year.“Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all." -Abp Oscar Romero
08-30-2013, 12:36 PM #10
That one's a favorite. I've also always loved his sonnet
A Drink of Water
She came every morning to draw water
Like an old bat staggering up the field:
The pump's whooping cough, the bucket's clatter
And slow diminuendo as it filled,
Announced her. I recall
Her gray apron, the pocked white enamel
Of the brimming bucket, and the treble
Creak of her voice like the pump's handle.
Nights when a full moon lifted past her gable
It fell back through her window and would lie
Into the water set out on the table.
Where I have dipped to drink again, to be
Faithful to the admonishment on her cup,
Remember the Giver fading off the lip.
Seamus Heaney chooses two poems to sum up his lifetime achievement. (Guardian)
His second choice, A Drink of Water, recalls a moment from his childhood, an old woman who drew water every morning, "Like an old bat staggering up the field", who is revealed later as a muse of sorts to the poet; Heaney said it was "about receiving a gift and being enjoined to 'remember the giver'", something he said he would always do when remembering that evening.
"The old lady in the poem was a neighbour, a crone, as she might have been described, who lived on her own, down the fields from us," he said. "To us kids she had a certain witch-like aura, but in the poem she becomes more like a muse offering the cup of poetry to the child incertus."
08-30-2013, 12:47 PM #11Registered User
- Join Date
- May 2007
- At the beach
What??? He's the only writer I've ever met!
One of my favorite of his poems is "Punishment." Come to think of it, its last 15 or so lines are highly appropriate for all of us at WS.
I can feel the tug
of the halter at the nape
of her neck, the wind
on her naked front.
It blows her nipples
to amber beads,
it shakes the frail rigging
of her ribs.
I can see her drowned
body in the bog,
the weighing stone,
the floating rods and boughs.
Under which at first
she was a barked sapling
that is dug up
her shaved head
like a stubble of black corn,
her blindfold a soiled bandage,
her noose a ring
the memories of love.
before they punished you
you were flaxen-haired,
undernourished, and your
tar-black face was beautiful.
My poor scapegoat,
I almost love you
but would have cast, I know,
the stones of silence.
I am the artful voyeur
of your brain's exposed
and darkened combs,
your muscles' webbing
and all your numbered bones:
I who have stood dumb
when your betraying sisters,
cauled in tar,
wept by the railings,
who would connive
in civilized outrage
yet understand the exact
and tribal, intimate revenge.
Read the full text here: http://mentalfloss.com/article/20795...#ixzz2dTIisL7P
--brought to you by mental_floss!
08-30-2013, 12:53 PM #12
"the old man-killing parishes"
The Tollund Man
Some day I will go to Aarhus
To see his peat-brown head,
The mild pods of his eye-lids,
His pointed skin cap.
In the flat country near by
Where they dug him out,
His last gruel of winter seeds
Caked in his stomach,
Naked except for
The cap, noose and girdle,
I will stand a long time.
Bridegroom to the goddess,
She tightened her torc on him
And opened her fen,
Those dark juices working
Him to a saint's kept body,
Trove of the turfcutters'
Now his stained face
Reposes at Aarhus.
I could risk blasphemy,
Consecrate the cauldron bog
Our holy ground and pray
Him to make germinate
The scattered, ambushed
Flesh of labourers,
Laid out in the farmyards,
Tell-tale skin and teeth
Flecking the sleepers
Of four young brothers, trailed
For miles along the lines.
Something of his sad freedom
As he rode the tumbril
Should come to me, driving,
Saying the names
Tollund, Grauballe, Nebelgard,
Watching the pointing hands
Of country people,
Not knowing their tongue.
Out here in Jutland
In the old man-killing parishes
I will feel lost,
Unhappy and at home.
Tollund Man (Wiki)
08-30-2013, 08:02 PM #13Former Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2012
Thanks to all who posted some of his poetry.
RIP, your words will be greatly missed.
08-30-2013, 08:07 PM #14Enough Is Enough!
- Join Date
- Sep 2010
I'm in tears.
This man inspired my work as a poet, and studying his use of sound is what I believe helped me toward success in publishing my work.
For the man of words who taught me to love the sound of language, I can offer only a minute's silence._____________
There are coincidences and then there is this case...
Ausgirl's Curio Cabinet of Seriously Suspicious Deaths
-- Comments, opinions and cups of tea (no arsenic) welcome!
09-01-2013, 08:03 PM #15
The last lines of "In Memory of W.B. Yeats" which I quoted from above, by W.H. Auden. The words apply to Seamus Heaney too, and to all of the blessed who seek to toil with exactness in poetry's abundant yet difficult fields.
Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;
With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;
In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise. -
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