seamus heaney


The world lost a great poet last Friday. Seamus Heaney's last words, a text message to his wife, were in Latin: 'Noli timere' – 'don't be afraid.' Indeed very fitting for a brave and generous soul whose life and works had touched so many people's hearts.

Here is one of my favorites of his poetry. So vivid and tender, it hit me like a punch in the gut when I read it for the first time. And oh, that last stanza!

Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication
for Mary Heaney

I. Sunlight

There was a sunlit absence.
The helmeted pump in the yard
heated its iron,
water honeyed

in the slung bucket
and the sun stood
like a griddle cooling
against the wall

of each long afternoon.
So, her hands scuffled
over the bakeboard,
the reddening stove

sent its plaque of heat
against her where she stood
in a floury apron
by the window.

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.

And here is love
like a tinsmith's scoop
sunk past its gleam
in the meal-bin.

Have a listen to Seamus Heaney read this poem here.

(Image credit: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland)


  1. ♥ amazing to see that his poetry travelled so far.
    His funeral was broadcast live on national radio and tv here in Ireland.

    1. Catriona, I found it so touching that the entire country mourned and celebrated his legacy.