Seamus Heaney RIP

The pen now idle

a way of telling silenced

next Tollund Man dies.


From furrow fertile

blackberries ripe each August



Bogs will keep crusting

between the sights of the sun

as you rest below.


37 thoughts on “Seamus Heaney RIP

  1. I saw the Tollund man as a kid. I didn’t quite grasp the significance until later. The face is absolutely amazing. Actually, come to think of it, there’s something vaguely Heaneyesque about his benign, avuncular smile and the kindly eyes he seems to have. A very nice tribute, Mike. Sort of a remix.

    • Remix – that’s it, well termed. Where I stated that Heaney would become another Tollund Man I was alluding to the longevity of his works but I’m delighted with your observation of a physical similarity – it seems very appropriate. Thank you for your perspicuous contributions here.

    • The ‘crusting’ is lifted directly from Heaney’s own, ‘Bogland’. I tried to include terms from his lexicon. Thank you for your observation.

  2. As wonderful as it is short, I stopped to ponder over every line.
    Admittedly I only own his translation of Beuwulf and not a collection of his own. I aim to change that.
    Ireland lost one man but a thousand-thousand words. Your poem praises beautifully well, Mike!

    • Thanks Brent and I notice how in the day since I wrote that, similar works of homage have flooded the blogosphere and social media – he has generated more words in death than he did himself in life and I suspect he would be quite chuffed at this. Decide which collection to buy by sampling the extracts available all over the web. You’ll find new meaning in my words once you have read ‘Blackberry Picking’, ‘Bogland’ and ‘The Tollund Man’.

      • It is early morning here in Canada and I am off to the market and bookstore(s). If I don’t come back with a collection of his I’ll be saddened! Though it’s saddening in itself that it took death to make me do so. Such is the way of life, oddly enough sometimes. I will check out those three poems of his before I head out the door.

  3. twoscamps says:

    Love the line: “bogs will keep crusting”. And oh! That blackberry poem! A great loss today. Posting mid-term break a perfect introduction .

  4. I will show my ignorance here and say that other than being familiar with the name, I really know nothing about the man as a poet. But I’ve always thought the name was cool… I mean how could you not be a famous writer with a name like that?!?

    • And a cool man – here’s an introduction:

      Mid-Term Break

      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.

Whaddya think?

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