Tag Archives: Seamus Heaney

Flying Poetic Kites for Father’s Day – Poems by Heaney and Stafford

Father and Son No sound—a spell—on out where the wind went, our kite sent back its thrill along the string that sagged and sang and said, “I’m here! I’m here”—till broke somewhere, gone years ago, but sailed forever clear of earth. I hold—whatever tugs the other end—I hold that string. William Stafford from Stories That […]

To Set The Darkness Echoing – Seamus Heaney and Natalie Shapero

Personal Helicon for Michael Longley As a child, they could not keep me from wells And old pumps with buckets and windlasses. I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells Of waterweed, fungus and dank moss.  One, in a brickyard, with a rotted board top. I savoured the rich crash when a bucket Plummeted down at the end of a rope. So deep you saw no reflection in it. A shallow one under a dry stone ditch Fructified like any aquarium. When you dragged out long roots from the soft mulch, A white face hovered over the bottom. Others had echoes, gave back your own call With a clean new music in it. And one Was scaresome for there, out of ferns and tall Foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection.  Now, to pry into roots, to finger slime, To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring Is beneath all adult dignity. I rhyme To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.  Seamus Heaney from Opened Ground Poems 1966-1996, Faber […]

The Bigness of Small Poems – # 35 in a Series – To Grieve, Yet Credit Marvels – Gelman, Berger & Heaney

  “The Deluded” hope fails us often grief never. that’s why some think that known grief is better than unknown grief. They believe that hope is illusion. They are deluded by grief. Juan Gelman (1930-2014) from Unthinkable Tenderness: Selected Poems, ed, and trans. Joan Lindgren, Berkeley University of California Press, 1977 Many years ago riding […]

Yet We Were Looking Away – On Missing the Moment!

                                                                              The Self-Unseeing Here is the ancient floor, Footworn and hollowed and thin, Here was the former […]

Let’s Go Fly a Kite – Heaney and Pascoli – Part Two

The Seamus Heaney translations  of two poems by Giovanni Pascoli (1855 – 1912) published in the New Yorker after the death of Heaney (1938 – 2013) last August sent me scrambling to find out more about Heaney’s connection to Pascoli.  I didn’t have far to go. Heaney discovered Pascoli in Urbino, Italy in 2002 and was […]

The Large Piccolo Cose (small things) of Giovanni Pascoli

Washerwomen Out in a field half-fallow and half furrowed, A plough is standing, no oxen-team in sight, Forgotten looking, half-hid in a mist-cloud. From the mill-pond comes the wet slapping and surge And rhythmic rinsings of the washerwomen, Each splish-splash keeping time with their sing-song dirge: The wind is blowing, the bush is snowing, You’ve […]

Seamus Heaney’s Kick In The Arse for Writers – Now Strike Your Note

As I work away at editing my manuscript  The Lucky Season, I am haunted by Seamus Heaney’s directives to writers. Like the one in the title of this post.  But the sentence before it is the killer for me.  You’ve listened long enough.  Only then does Heaney add: Now strike your note. Well I have lots […]

Noli Timere – Be Not Afraid – Heaney’s Work: A Poet’s Work

from Lightenings viii The annals say: when the monks of Clonmacnoise Were all at prayers inside the oratory A ship appeared above them in the air. The anchor dragged along behind so deep It hooked itself into the altar rails And then, as the big hull rocked to a standstill, a crewman shinned and grappled […]

Making “Rejoice” Answer Back – Further Thoughts on Seamus Heaney

THE DOOR WAS OPEN AND THE HOUSE WAS DARK In Memory of David Hammond The door was open and the house was dark Wherefore I called his name, although I knew The answer this time would be silence That kept me standing listening while it grew Backwards and down and out into the street Where […]

Poems Humped and Strong – What Seamus Heaney Leaves Behind

Postscript And some time make the time to drive out west Into County Clare, along the Flaggy shore, In September or October, when the wind And the light are working off each other So that the ocean on one side is wild With foam and glitter, and inland among stones The surface of a slate-grey […]