our great loss

I’ll never see Heaney now

Who will tell us the truth about ourselves?

Who will make us listen?

Who will keep us from the herd?

Who will remind us of the hope and the history, our foolishness, and our losses?

Rest now, Seamus.

Clearances, VIII

I thought of walking round and around a space

Utterly empty, utterly a source

Where the decked chestnut tree had lost its place

In our front hedge above the wallflowers.

The white chips jumped and jumped and skitted high.

I heard the hatchet’s differentiated

Accurate cut, the crack, the sigh

And collapse of what luxuriated

Through the shocked tips and wreckage of it all.

Deep-planted and long gone, my coeval

Chestnut from a jam jar in a hole,

Its heft and hush became a bright nowhere,

A soul ramifying and forever

Silent, beyond silence listened for.


13 thoughts on “our great loss

  1. Tried to comment earlier but the signal was too weak. I didn’t know he had died until I saw your post.
    Like you, I wish i had heard him speak, been one of the audience. Thank goodness for the poems and the Bellaghy Bawn remembering his legacy.

    1. I’m sorry to have been the bearer of such news, Isobel. I got into a taxi earlier, heard part of a radio discussion, and swore, practically in the driver’s ear. We will be reading the poems for ever.
      He’s going back to Bellaghy on Monday, after services in Dublin.

      1. I’ll get a paper tomorrow and catch up. Cousin was on the committee that fought for the funding for the sculpture of Digging at Bellaghy. The bawn is a lovely place. What did he die of?

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