3 September 2013


Seamus Heaney  (13 April 1939 – 30 August 2013)

Now that man, that man - he was a real poet, he was. He crafted words like a master potter at a wheel or dug them from the depths of his memory or pursued them through the labyrinths of his emotional intelligence. He didn't seek to baffle with unnecessarily complicated language or overly obscure classical reference. No. This was a kindly, self-effacing man with his feet firmly planted on the ground and a heart brimming with love for those he loved and for simply being human. A poet worth saluting as he departs though of course, thankfully, his words remain....

Death Of A Naturalist

All year the flax-dam festered in the heart
Of the townland; green and heavy headed
Flax had rotted there, weighted down by huge sods.
Daily it sweltered in the punishing sun.
Bubbles gargled delicately, bluebottles
Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell.
There were dragon-flies, spotted butterflies,
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-
Swimming tadpoles. Miss Walls would tell us how
The daddy frog was called a bullfrog
And how he croaked and how the mammy frog
Laid hundreds of little eggs and this was
Frogspawn. You could tell the weather by frogs too
For they were yellow in the sun and brown
In rain.
Then one hot day when fields were rank
With cowdung in the grass the angry frogs
Invaded the flax-dam; I ducked through hedges
To a coarse croaking that I had not heard
Before. The air was thick with a bass chorus.
Right down the dam gross-bellied frogs were cocked
On sods; their loose necks pulsed like sails. Some hopped:
The slap and plop were obscene threats. Some sat
Poised like mud grenades, their blunt heads farting.
I sickened, turned, and ran. The great slime kings
Were gathered there for vengeance and I knew
That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.


  1. A poet I've never read....I'll have a look what Kindle have to offer.

    1. Adrian - I hope you find some pleasure there. With an open mind, I believe that Mr Heaney will touch you. He loved Nature as much as you do.

  2. This was a kindly, self-effacing man with his feet firmly planted on the ground and a heart brimming with love for those he loved and for simply being human.

    I couldn't think of a nicer thing for a man to be known for.

    1. Thanks for noticing that sentence. I am rather proud of it as a personal tribute to Mr Heaney.

  3. I've heard his name, of course, but I never really read anything by him until today, when after reading this post I found a lot of his poetry on a website. Interesting.

    1. I am pleased that this post has spurred you on to get to know Mr Heaney. He had a way with words.


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