Poet Seamus Heaney dies aged 74

Picture of the Irish poet and Nobel Prize winn...

Picture of the Irish poet and Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney at the University College Dublin, February 11, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inimitable.  How do you create a tribute to a poet such as Seamus Heaney with such a lyrical, passionate command of language.  This is a compilation of some of his titles (see if you recognise them) which I’ve tried to bring together to create a feeling for the voltage of language – his words, not mine.  30th August 2013.


The Voltage of Language

Digging, blackberry picking,
harvesting each word,
heavy-hanging, dew-bright, flush-ripe
in Anahorish morning’s pink-flesh light.

Strange fruit.
Savour the flavour of each word,
fructal-sweet, grit-sharp, hoppy, pithy
in requiem for the croppies.

Now the otter breaking crystal tarn,
the docker’s bogland testimony
of the Graubelle man and the peat-brown
of the Aarhus Tollund man.

Keeping going, forging verse
from the frontier of writing.
Twice shy lovers in Aran, in limbo,
suffering the early purges of personal helicon.

Postscript: the act of union of words
rends exposure of the harvest bow
of the follower who is digging still
deep in the virgin rite of spring.




30th August 2013 – headline from the BBC

Notes:  “Poet Seamus Heaney dies aged 74.”  Seamus Heaney, acclaimed by many as the best Irish poet since WB Yeats, has died aged 74.  He was born in April 1939, the eldest of nine children, on a farm near Toomebridge in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, but as a child moved to the village of Bellaghy.  He was educated at St Columb’s College, Derry, a Catholic boarding school, and later at Queen’s University Belfast, before training as a teacher. He settled in Dublin, with periods of teaching in the US.  Heaney was an honorary fellow at Trinity College Dublin and, last year, was bestowed with the Seamus Heaney Professorship in Irish Writing at the university, which he described as a great honour.  Over his long career he was awarded numerous prizes and received many honours for his work.  He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”.  Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate and a friend of Heaney said that Heaney was “a great poet, a wonderful writer about poetry, and a person of truly exceptional grace and intelligence.”

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