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Sad to hear Seamus Heaney has died, aged 74

Sad to hear Seamus Heaney has died, aged 74

Irish poet and playwright Seamus Heaney, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, has died today, aged 74.

Seamus Heaney was a wonderful poet.

We wanted to remember him with our favourite poem, Mid-Term Break  (do look it up, it’s beautiful, especially when you know his brother, Christopher, was killed in a road accident at the age of four, while Heaney was studying).

Wary of copyright infringement, we are instead including some of our favourite extracts:


I was six when I first saw kittens drown.

(from The Early Purges)


Between my finger and my thumb

The squat pen rests; as snug as a gun

(from Digging)


 When all the others were away at Mass

I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.

They broke the silence, let fall one by one

Like solder weeping off the soldering iron;

Cold comforts set between us, things to share

Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.

And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes

From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.


So while the parish priest at her bedside

Went hammer and tongs at prayers for the dying

And some were responding and some crying

I remembered her head bent towards my head,

Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives –

Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

(from Clearances)


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.

(from Mid-Term Break)




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