Friday, August 30, 2013

A Sad Day for Poetry: Seamus Heaney Dies at 74

Seamus Heaney at Play
I am shocked and saddened by the The New York Times story announcing Seamus Heaney's death after a short illness. Once upon a time we were neighbors as he lived half the year in Adams House in Harvard Square. I believe I have all but one of his books and that is many many books. More about his life and loves to come.

Far Away

When I answered that I came from “far away”
The policeman at the roadblock snapped “where’s that”?
He’d only half heard what I said and thought
It was the name of some place up the country.

And now it is both where I have been living
And where I left --- a distance still to go
Like starlight that is light years on the go
From faraway and takes light years returning.

Seamus Heaney

“The main thing is to write for the joy of it. Cultivate a work-lust that imagines its haven like your hands at night, dreaming the sun in the sunspot of a breast. You are fasted now, light-headed, dangerous. Take off from here. And don’t be so earnest.”


  1. Wonderful quote. A tremendous loss. I'm thankful I have his work to read.

  2. I've loved this poem and carried it in my diary since it was published years ago in The New Yorker. Thanks for posting it on this sad day. His legacy remains to comfort and challenge us.

    1. Hi Eileen,
      I carried this poem with me for over a decade as I moved from Massachusetts, to Oregon, to South Africa. So wild to know you were doing the same thing. The poem seems to insert itself directly into my life. As if he were writing about my own travels -- which is perhaps part of the beauty of great writing.