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Published: 31st August 2013 11:28 AM
Last Updated: 31st August 2013 11:28 AM
Seamus Heaney, Irish poet and Nobel Prize winner, has died aged 74. From his extensive oevre, here are some of his best lines.
Death of a Naturalist
From Death of a Naturalist, published 1966.
"But best of all was the warm thick slobber
Of frogspawn that grew like clotted water
In the shade of the banks. Here, every spring
I would fill jampotfuls of the jellied
Specks to range on window-sills at home,
On shelves at school, and wait and watch until
The fattening dots burst into nimble-
Requiem for the Croppies
Written in 1966, on the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Printed in Door into The Dark, 1969.
"Terraced thousands died, shaking scythes at cannon.
The hillside blushed, soaked in our broken wave.
They buried us without shroud or coffin
And in August... the barley grew up out of our grave."
From The Spirit Level, published 1996.
"So tally bags and sweet-talk darkness, coalman,
Listen to the rain spit in new ashes
As you heft a load of dust that was Magherafelt,
Then reappear from your lorry as my mother's
Dreamboat coalman filmed in silk-white ashes"
Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication
Published in North, in 1975 and dedicated to Mary Heaney.
"Now she dusts the board
with a goose's wing,
now sits, broad-lapped,
with whitened nails
and measling shins:
here is a space
again, the scone rising
to the tick of two clocks."
1. The Seed Cutters
"They seem hundreds of years away. Brueghel,
You'll know them if I can get them true.
They kneel under the hedge in a half-circle
Behind a windbreak wind is breaking through."
The Tollund Man in Springtime
Published in Metre, Spring 2005.
"The soul exceeds its circumstances". Yes.
History not to be granted the last word
Or the first claim ... In the end I gathered
From the display-case peat my staying powers,
Told my webbed wrists to be like silver birches,
My old uncallused hands to be young sward,
The spade-cut skin to heal, and got restored
By telling myself this."
From Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966-1996, published 1998.
"I returned to a long strand,
the hammered curve of a bay,
and found only the secular
powers of the Atlantic thundering."
Written as an objection to being included in an anthology of British poetry, as he claimed his identity was Irish, in 1982.
"Be advised my passport's green.
No glass of ours was ever raised
to toast the Queen."
From Whatever You Say Say Nothing, published in North (1975).
"I retreated to the cool of the Prado.
Goya's 'Shootings of the Third of May'
Covered a wall - the thrown-up arms
And spasm of the rebel, the helmeted
And knapsacked miliatry, the efficient
Rake of the fusillade."
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
Published in 2000.
"It is always better
to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning.
For every one of us, living in this world
means waiting for our end. Let whoever can
win glory before death. When a warrior is gone,
that will be his best and only bulwark."
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