Friday, August 30, 2013

His Nibs Mr Seamus Heaney RIP



Seamus Heaney meeting HRH The Queen, Prince Phillip and Irish President Mary McAleese, during the Queen's  recent visit to Ireland


In  1993 my mother, during her visit, presented me with a book New Selected Poems 1966-1987. The author Seamus Heaney.  Heaney, like W.B Yeats and Samual Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.

The book is well thumbed, there may be a tear and also a stain from a tear or two shed while reading and re-reading my favourite poems.

I shall leave you, my writer friends, with this peom called Digging

Between my finger and my thumb   
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.


Under my window, a clean rasping sound   
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:   
My father, digging. I look down


Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds   
Bends low, comes up twenty years away   
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills   
Where he was digging.


The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft   
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.


By God, the old man could handle a spade.   
Just like his old man.


My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.


The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.


Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.


May your soul be at God's right hand side dear Seamus.

30 comments:

  1. RIP Seamus - a true Irish 'wordsmith' - a great and sad loss.

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    1. Well said Rosemary.

      A great mind and soul
      Helenxx

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  2. Dear Helen, a beautiful poem, and a great post. I'm glad my grandmother was Irish!

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    1. Hello Patricia

      You are a gifted writer too. Heaney's poetry resonates with me.

      Helen xx

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  3. What a wonderful tribute!
    This poem reminds me of so many feelings I have for my dad.
    Thank you.
    Di
    xxxxx

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  4. Prayers to his love ones

    I bought his poetry book, "Death of a Naturalist" at a Harvard Square bookshop about 1967. I think of his poems as words to stun by, wake up the mind.

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    1. Thank you for visiting and I join you in sending prayers to his loved ones.

      His words touch the heart and soul

      Helen xx

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  5. What a beautiful poem and what a lovely tribute, Helen.

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    1. Thank you Jackie I am happy you like the poem.
      Helen xx

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  6. I am so glad I visited your spot today. Do you know the poem 'Blackberry-picking'? I have been picking blackberries with my grandson, who ate so many that he became ill. I thought of Seamus Heaney's poem then - and I was glad that my little fellow had been allowed to eat his fill, even if they made him a little sick!

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    1. What a joy to pick blackberries with your grandson and eating ones fill is part of the joy of fruit picking.
      The reader feels that Heaney had them in mind when he wrote his verses

      Helen xx

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  7. God be with him, God be with us who find our tools to dig deep into the soil of this life we have been given. Oh Helen, what a poet this man IS, always. My husband and I took a poetry writing class this summer, and there is such a wealth of life in poetry. Seamus Heaney is one of the best of any time. Thank you for visiting, and let's make a mark on the terrain we both tread. Anita

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  8. Oh, one of my favourite poems.
    How much brighter he made the world.

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  9. Wow, Helen! WHAT a poem - so tactile - I can feel, hear, smell - I'm just there with him!! I am embarrassed to say that I had never heard of Seamus Heaney until Friday, when he was mentioned every other minute on the radio. I was running errands in my car and catching snatches. There's so much to learn in this world. So many gems - free - but one has to dig around for them, eh? ;) And, until recently, I was afraid of poetry. I was afraid that there would be some hidden meaning that I would miss - like being the only one in the group that doesn't get a joke. But, then, I decided that I don't really care - I love words! I love mood! I love senses! And I'll decide what it means to me!! ;) What a happy day that was!! =)

    xxo

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  10. (There's something about the 'dig of a shovel'. Perhaps... the way my dad would dig... such a memory!!!)

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  11. I am remembering the power of his BEOWULF. Yes, rest in peace, Mr. Heaney.

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  12. Dear Helen, I had not read ' Digging' before- thank you. Your post brought a tear to my eye at the passing on of such a beautiful poet. Jane xx

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  13. Hi Helen, I wasn't sure if you'd stopped by TravelnWrite this week so I wanted to let you know I tapped you for a Color contest (details on a link in the post) It is the Thursday Amsterdam post. Have a great weekend.

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  14. Such a lovely poem, one that makes you stop and listen to life. He will be missed. Hope you are well, Helen. XO

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  15. Thankyou Helen. Great pictures form in my mind as that is read aloud. The difference between poetry and "a rhyme" is so well displayed in this.
    Cheers Gillian

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  16. What a meaningful poem Helen. Your mother was a wise woman to give you such a gift; obviously one that keeps giving you joy after years. Mr. Heaney was a truly gifted man.
    Have a good Thursday my friend x

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  17. May he rest in peace He painted such a beautiful picture with his words.

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  18. They all look SO pleased to see each other!

    Hugs, Jane

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  19. I heard him on the radio - and how good he sounded. He was a great poet.

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  20. I am sorry to say I have not read any SH until this post. Now I have to go and seek some more. Wonderful. Thanks for the intro Helen.
    Di
    xoxo

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  21. What a beautiful poem. I'm not familiar with his work but now want to read more. Thanks for the introduction. :o)

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  22. Oh, thank you, Helen! I do not understand each word but he must have been Irish. I will seek for him in the internet and try to find out more. There are so many wonderful things in this world and I am glad to learn about them through you as well! Thank you Helen and thank you so very much for your comment on my today's post! Christa

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  23. Hello Helen, how the devil are you? What a fantastic poem, you can just picture that auld fella diggin'. A lovely tribute to a talented man, thank you. I have to confess that I am not terribly familiar with his work, but reading that poem, makes me want to seek him out.
    I hope you have had a wonderful summer. Thank you for your lovely comments. I did indeed feel very lucky last weekend. My husband and I don't often get the chance to be out on our own, and I must say it was most enjoyable. Much love to you, Linda xx

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  24. Helen... I just wanted toi thank you for your very generous words on FB and lovely comment on French essence today... so appreciated... :)
    Love Vicki

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