An Irish Giant

in memoriam Seamus Heaney

I never met you, Seamus,
And now I never will, because
as another poet said,
“In the forest of poetry the great oak has fallen.”

Seamus, you lit the darkened corners
of my mind with your lamp of language;
left a legacy of truth and life behind you,
and stirred the broth of imagination
with your words. The world weeps today.

From the squelch of farmyard mud, the leather
creak of harness and iron feel of plough,
to the Olympian heights of Homer’s Greece
and the alliterative Anglo-Saxon of Beowulf,
you plumbed the depths of diverse life.

Nobel prize winner, maker of magic, Irish giant,
you gave the world so much, and I’m sure
that large heart of yours would have given
the waiting world much more. It was not to be –
too early, you found your destiny.

The quotation is from the poem “The fallen oak” by Tony Curtis.

Bill Fitzsimons

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One Response to An Irish Giant

  1. Terry Wassall says:

    You capture him very well Bill. One of my favourite poets. Seamus Heaney was a great poet and a great loss. He made a pretty good fist of dealing with the inevitable political aspects and implications of his poetry. Have you read his collection of lectures and other writings, The Government of the Tongue? Interesting title. The government of what others can say or the self-government of his own tongue?

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