The problem with having too many things- in this case, books- is that I can’t find what I’m looking for. How am I going to impress you all with my knowledge of random bits, if I don’t know where I’ve put it? Hmm, yes, I do suppose that means that I don’t really know the stuff, I just like having access to it. That’s why I love the internet.

After wondering about Seamus Heaney on the bus the other week, I thought I’d hunt out some of the poetry and remind myself of its wonder. I’d thought I’d be curled up on the sofa, nodding knowledgeably, stroking my metaphorical beard, chewing on the end of a pencil. I thought I knew where the books were. Right there beside the bed. Or in the living room. The shelves are double stacked, but nothing is lost. I don’t think. It’s not a big house. I give loads of books to charity shops, but surely I wouldn’t have given away Seamus?

I did have to revert to the internet after all. Forgive me for the obvious choices- familiarity doesn’t reduce their power, and also, they’re easier to find… (the book turned up later, beside the bed, just like you all predicted)

Digging, by Seamus Heaney

Lovers on Aran, By Seamus Heaney

Then, there is another poem which came to mind when I was looking at Not Seamus

A lover of words, by John Hegley

The words are his potatoes.

He spades them out

he lets them lie

he brings them home

he wrings them dry.

Then the honing

and the boning

of the artificial eye.

And then further cleaning:

this is Seamus,



This post was first published in May 2011. Works by Heaney and Hegley are available for reading anytime.


13 thoughts on “Seamus

    1. Ramana, you must be a sensible sort. Owning a Kindle does not stop me buying real books. Only yesterday I was putting a new book on a shelf, and discovered an earlier copy of the same book, still unread. I may have a problem…

  1. Wonderful poems.

    Jenny and I are very disciplined with our books. They’re all arranged by author under subject so we can always find what we want. But I was looking for John Fowles’ The Collector yesterday and Jenny reminded me we’d thrown it out months ago on the grounds that it was hopelessly sexist. I’d completely forgotten.

    1. I have had many major clear outs of books. I probably have about a third of the shelf space I used to have. I regularly donate bundles to the charity shops. Still, I have never managed to organise what’s left…

  2. Thanks for the links. You know I really should read more poetry. I think it make me smarter and a better person. One can hope.

    1. I don’t normally read a lot of poetry, but sometimes I discover a poet and get totally enthralled. Watch this space for post summer school poetry gushing!

  3. Thank you so much for your posts. I enjoy reading them so much. Always inspiring or insightful and beautiful artwork. I am so pleased to be following you 

  4. I’m forever losing books! I also don’t know how it’s even possible. The other day I took one off the shelf and within a few minutes couldn’t find it! I much later realize I put it back on another shelf…I have no idea why! I love the poetry you’ve shared here, Fiona. Such good choices.

    1. Debra, I have bundles of books all over the place. Every few years I think I have it all under control, but that hope lasts for less than a week. I must actually enjoy the hunt 🙂

    1. Kate, I am challenged in a different way. Girl1 is an active non reader. She’d rather play sport and be sociable. This is alien to me. My only comfort is that she reads the sports sections of the weekend newspapers.

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