Odes to Seamus Heaney: readers pay tribute in verse
In recent days, dozens of Irish Times readers – from practised scribes to amateur versemakers – have written and submitted poems remembering the late Seamus Heaney. Here is a selection of their contributions
– Kathleen O’Doherty (Bray, Co Wicklow; originally south Derry)
HIS MASTER’S PEN
The house awoke to sunrise
Over Sandymount Strand
But today was no ordinary day.
The pen that lay on the desk
In the sun-filled attic study,
Overlooking the world and its movements,
Was not to be stirred from its horizontal slumber.
That pen will stir no more,
Sitting forlornly on the desk,
Reposing on the arena of past triumphs,
But confident in the knowledge that
It had participated in some epic adventures,
Guided by a true colossus.
Never again will it experience the surprise
Of new words describing the ordinary;
Of extra-ordinary concepts
Conveyed with everyday words.
The pen, like its master, at last can rest,
Having served the world, the country
And most significantly, the beloved flock,
Of ordinary people who felt to know him intimately.
He addressed them with a warmth and caring
For he understood their human condition,
He recognised the importance of the normal
The complexity of the simple bits and pieces.
The enforced silence will roar loudly on the horizon
As the pen acclimatises to the tranquility of redundancy
While the master proceeds to join his peers in another place:
The bond, which endured a lifetime, finally broken?
– Dave Fleming (Donnybrook, Dublin)
ALL OF US
What forests we have!
they still cover our Earth
and breathe dangerously
whose living breath
all of us
A Great Oak has fallen
This great linchpin of Life-lived
this huge hub
of forest chatter
where ancestries stop and listen still
in wild structures
leaves a huge tracery
of light captured
Not a stillness, but still a living being
so soulful it is
and with all
– GB O’Laoi (Sandycove, Dublin)
He’s left us!
Left this world,
Gone to another
Now an inbetweener,
Neither here nor there!
In a liminal light and shadow.
Tall white haired figure
A space blown Wide Open!
– Martina Langan (Kilnamanagh, Dublin)
Our most humble titan
Cleaved with pen, through dreams and
To mark his time, counsel the next
And bid us write.
– Joseph Cummins (Warsaw, Poland)