Category Archives: August

Seamus Heaney Poems

Some time ago we spent a wonderful stanza evening discussing the poetry of Seamus Heaney.  Here’s a couple of favourite poems brought by members that evening:

 

From ‘Lightenings’:

The annals say: when the monks of Clonmacnoise
Were all at prayers inside the oratory
A ship appeared above them in the air.

The anchor dragged along behind so deep
It hooked itself into the altar rails
And then, as the big hull rocked to a standstill,

A crewman shinned and grappled down the rope
And struggled to release it. But in vain.
‘This man can’t bear our life here and will drown,’

The abbot said, ‘unless we help him.’ So
They did, the freed ship sailed, and the man climbed back
Out of the marvellous as he had known it.

 

The Rain Stick   

 

Up-end the stick and what happens next

Is a music that you never would have known

To listen for. In a cactus stalk

 

Downpour, sluice-rush, spillage and backwash

Come flowing through. You stand there like a pipe

Being played by water, you shake it again lightly

 

And diminuendo runs through all its scales

Like a gutter stopping trickling. And now here comes

A sprinkle of drops out of the freshened leaves,

 

Then subtle little wets off grass and daisies;

The glitter-drizzle, almost-breaths of air.

Up-end the stick again. What happens next

 

Is undiminished for having happened once,

Twice, ten, and thousand times before.

Who cares if all the music that transpires

 

Is the fall of grit or dry seeds through a cactus?

You are like a rich man entering heaven

Through the ear of a raindrop. Listen now again.