The Poet – An Elegy to Seamus Heaney

This is a bit overdue, but a nonetheless heartfelt remembrance of a poet who deeply affected me.

“An Elegy to Seamus Heaney”

Blackberries grew there. My wife and I picked them

During our engagement. Their bushes drooped over

Barbed-wire. I felt that I was plucking muscle off

Some earthen animal. Behind the bush, to

Frogspawn in the misty field, this naturalist had died gut-first

Out of his schoolboy days. A foot for every year

Binds his wide-open box. A spade churns his word

Like an ox-drawn plow, entering

The vaporous earth through lichen and mineral.

Earth and loam grew over the glory,

Bodies, heads, limbs, traded in for the glory

Of lore and dampening: the after-death swim

Out of sight of land, the sea and soul one spirit.

All along the sea-course we will warm ourselves

With partnership and drink, keep the fire up

To forestall the naked ones out in the dark and deep.

Seamus Heaney, 1939 – 2013


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