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Words from the hearth

August 30, 2013

Words from the hearth (on the loss of Seamus Heaney)


At the well above the village
On Great Blasket
It’s easy to hear whispers:

From the grey rough of fallen stones,
And turf returned
To cover paths and cabins:

From the waves which haunt an Trá Bán
And shift white sand
Over soulblack stretching rocks;

From storms which chase old Naomhóga
Of memory
To prayed-for harbour refuge;

From those who left behind their lives,
And walk this hill
In distant broken mourning hearts;

These island whispers weave their way
Through empty rooms,
And whistling gaps in yawning roofs.

But they come sweet in silver speech,
Inspired by one
Who conjured words from heartache,

Whose family was the boggy land,
Whose history
Was those hands which made it work.

From Blasket to Rathlin Island,
And from Achill
Down to Sherkin and Cape Clear,

The hearths that warm Bellaghy,
Have lit the world,
And Famous Seamus set them.

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