goodnight mr. seamus heaney


we just turned on the digital device to catch up with the latest from BBC Radio 4 and heard of the passing of Mr. Seamus Heaney. 



here’s the radio broadcast if you can hear this transmission in your Territory.

and a Fine Tribute of the man in the Irish Times here. 

may we share a few pictures from yesterday and today interspersed with words from the great, now late, Poet?


From The Frontier Of Writing

The tightness and the nilness round that space
when the car stops in the road, the troops inspect
its make and number and, as one bends his face

towards your window, you catch sight of more
on a hill beyond, eyeing with intent
down cradled guns that hold you under cover

and everything is pure interrogation
until a rifle motions and you move
with guarded unconcerned acceleration—

a little emptier, a little spent
as always by that quiver in the self,
subjugated, yes, and obedient.

So you drive on to the frontier of writing
where it happens again. The guns on tripods;
the sergeant with his on-off mike repeating

data about you, waiting for the squawk
of clearance; the marksman training down
out of the sun upon you like a hawk.

And suddenly you’re through, arraigned yet freed,
as if you’d passed from behind a waterfall
on the black current of a tarmac road

past armor-plated vehicles, out between
the posted soldiers flowing and receding
like tree shadows into the polished windscreen.






A comet that was lost
Should be visible at sunset,
Those million tons of light
Like a glimmer of haws and rose-hips,



“Now she dusts the board

with a goose’s wing,

now sits, broad-lapped,

with whitened nails

and measling shins:

here is a space

again, the scone rising

to the tick of two clocks.”


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.

goodnight, sweet man.

now to more prosaic (forgive us) Thoughts:

if there Is an Afterlife *shivers* – do they have a special cloistered 16th century former monastery (perhaps one of those taken away by naughty Henry VIII) where the Poets go?

and if they do have this place of dwelling for them to continue to inspire and dream while sitting on the corner of a stone seat, do they watch out for Keats and Yeats from the corner of their eye and wait to be invited into the special turret room at the top where you can see Elysium?

and does Sappho pick fights with stevie smith who retorts with a sharp “Wait until the Poet Laureate gets here, madam!”?

makes one want to write a Poem just to see if one might get access even if it’s just for Exeat from wherever they send Us………

cue: *wistfullooktocamera*

11 thoughts on “goodnight mr. seamus heaney

  1. going by Mr Bulgakov, in the Afterlife everybody gets what they believe in, and atheists just disappear…

  2. Lovely, he will be missed very much, my favourite poet. I was lucky enough to hear him read from his last collection at the Queen Elizabeth Halls a couple of years ago, and fight old ladies for the last remaining signed copy at the book shop. Will 1 Old ladies 0


  3. ‘Like a glimmer of haws and rose-hips’… ah, love your photo for that verse, that line. The afterlives of poets…..certainly need a poem :) Seamus would probably appreciate it. Exeat weekends; that took me back a few years. Haven’t heard that word for decades. It was delightful on my ear.

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