RIP Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney has died, and I am sad.

He was the first poet I ever heard read from his poetry, back years ago in college, and it was a powerful thing to hear his words in his own voice, and his Station Island was the first book of poetry I ever bought.   When I married, it joined my husband's own Seamus Heaney books--happily, it was one he did not already have--and it has sat with them in peace for years, unread....

And this morning, I undistracted myself from the nasty fuss of work thoughts, and opened the book at random...and goldfinch and kingfisher "rent the veil of the usual" and I vowed not to give in to "the pathos of waterhens and panicky corncrakes" of an ordinary day (from "Drifting Off,"  p 104 in Station Island). 

Here the last stanza in full:

"But when goldfinch or kingfisher rent
the veil of the usual,
pinions whispered and braced
as I stooped, unwieldy
and brimming,
my spurs at the ready."


  1. Oh, no. I am so sorry to hear this. He was one of my favorites. I took my Kiddo to see him at the 92nd Street Y when she was in high school on a school night and we met the principle of her school, who told us that being out on a school night to see Seamus Heaney was the right thing to do.

    He will be very missed in this house, too.

  2. What??? Nooooo!!! I love his Beowulf!!!!

  3. I'm a fan of his Beowulf too.

    There's nothing like seeing a poet read their own work.

  4. It is very sad, and unexpected...sigh.


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