Today Seamus Heaney died. RIP

Seamus 1“For us, Seamus Heaney was the keeper of language, our codes, our essence as a people” an Taoiseach

 ‘the presence of Seamus was a warm one, full of humour, care and courtesy – a courtesy that enabled him to carry with such wry Northern Irish dignity so many well-deserved honours ’ Uachtarán na hÉireann

He is probably our most important national poet since Yeats.

I thought I should mark it with a brief post and some of my favourite words.

Upon being included in an anthology of “British” poets in 1982:

“Be advised my passport’s green

No glass of ours was ever raised,

To toast the Queen”

And a poignant one about the death of his four year old Brother I remember this from a long time ago:

Mid-Term Break by Seamus Heaney
I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o’clock our neighbors drove me home.In the porch I met my father crying–
He had always taken funerals in his stride–
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were “sorry for my trouble,”
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o’clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

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.

And in the Man’s own words:

For those of you who know Bangor this is a worthy few words.