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Seamus Heaney - Irish Poet  

Seamus Heaney - Irish Poet

Author: harrietesther , Last Modified, 2021-01-25 20:08:52

Category: history Keywords: Seamus-Heaney-Irish-Poet

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Seamus Heaney - Irish Poet


Seamus Heaney Poet

Seamus Heaney was born in 1939 in County Derry in Northern Ireland. Death of a naturalist, his first book, appeared in 1966 and since then he has published poetry, criticism and translations which have established him as one of the leading Poets of his generation.

He was Professor of poetry at Oxford University from 1989 to 1994 (his Oxford lecturers were published as the redress of poetry in 1995) and he taught at Harvard University, where he was the Boylston professor of rhetoric. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel prize for literature. Seamus Heaney died in the Black-rock Clinic in Dublin on 30 August 2013, aged 74, following a short illness after a fall outside a restaurant in Dublin. His funeral was held in Donnybrook, Dublin, on the morning of 2 September 2013, and he was buried in the evening at his home village of Bellaghy, in the same graveyard as his parents and other family members.


Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging.
I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The course boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered family.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner's bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it.

Extract from Seamus Heaney New Selected Poems 1966 - 1987 Faber and Faber.



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Seamus Heaney Reads His Poem, 'Digging'


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