Seamus Heaney Remembered with Love

Today marks the second anniversary of the death of Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995.

Seamus Heaney Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Seamus Heaney
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Seamus Heaney’s poetry, as regular readers will know, has been very dear to my heart, especially since I heard him read at the Kikenny Arts Festival in August 2009, just weeks after my mother’s death and at a time when my father was very frail indeed.

Heaney’s work is wide-ranging in terms of theme but, for me, his writings about his family, particularly his late parents, resonate very strongly and never fail to bring solace.

Last night, I was perusing the various volumes of his work that have their home on my desk beside the computer and found myself returning over and over to what I suspect may be his shortest poem of all.

The Strand

The dotted line my father’s ashplant made

On Sandymount Strand

Is something else the tide won’t wash away.

(Seamus Heaney, Opened Ground: Poems 1966-1996Faber and Faber)

The tide has ebbed and flowed rhythmically over the last two years and it certainly hasn’t washed away any of the lines crafted by Seamus Heaney. If anything, it has brought more and more of them up onto the shores of new waves of poetry lovers from all across the world.

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.

21 thoughts on “Seamus Heaney Remembered with Love”

  1. I had to look up ashplant to see what it was–understanding that one word brings the whole poem into clear focus. That, and his name, are both examples of why learning about other cultures and customs is so fascinating, and so necessary.

  2. I didn’t know what an ashplant was either. Poem was clearer when I looked it up. I read another of his poems this week as another blogger posted one of his. Thanks for sharing this one. My father had a collection of walking canes and walking sticks.

      1. Suz, ;’walking stick’ is the term that’s used much more widely than ‘walking cane’ here in Ireland.
        For me, the term ‘cane’ brings back visions of corporal punishment in schools here before it was made illegal during my early school years ~ much to my relief!

    1. CC, it’s interesting how it never dawned on me that people wouldn’t know what an ‘ashplant’ is as it’s a word I grew up with.

      Your father’s collection sounds interesting. I think some people work hard at finding the stick that suits their hand and size perfectly, as well as their style, of course.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: