Seamus Heaney’s Nobel Prize ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 264

It was on this day in 1995 that Seamus Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Railway Lines Photo: Frank Tubridy
Railway Lines
Photo: Frank Tubridy

One poem from the great master has been dominating my thoughts today, as I recall the enormous sense of occasion and history that I felt  on October 5th, 1995.

I remember well cradling our four-month-old baby  and marvelling at Seamus Heaney’s ability to capture the innocence of childhood which seemed to be both behind and in front of me.

 The Railway Children

When we climbed the slopes of the cutting
We were eye-level with the white cups
Of the telegraph poles and the sizzling wires.

Like lovely freehand they curved for miles
East and miles west beyond us, sagging
Under their burden of swallows.

We were small and thought we knew nothing
Worth knowing. We thought words travelled the wires
In the shiny pouches of raindrops,

Each one seeded full with the light
Of the sky, the gleam of the lines, and ourselves
So infinitesimally scaled

We could stream through the eye of a needle.

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

8 thoughts on “Seamus Heaney’s Nobel Prize ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 264”

  1. I was 48 in 1995, here in Recife, Northern Brazil. My teacher – Frank Murphy – would be 80 or so by then. Where would this Irishman be by now? I still read randomly from The Rattle Bag, a book he mentioned once – poems collected by Seamus Heaney… And I still keep some class notes: Beyond the scorched gable and the burnt out buses / There is a poet indulging wretched rage for order / Or not, as the case may be / For his is a dying art / An eddy of semantic scruples / In an unstructurable sea (Derek Mahon). Marcos

    1. Hi Marcus, thanks so much for writing. Isn’t it amazing how much a good teacher can pass on to their pupils?
      Yes, Rattle Bag is a real gem of a book and one that I never tire of either.

      1. Jean,
        Marcos is my brother. We live in the same country, but as far apart as you are from Morocco, I guess! Lots of things bring us together, though. Poetry is one of them. Warm wishes, Adriana.

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