Seamus Heaney

Today marks the death of Nobel Laureate and poet, Seamus Heaney. Some years ago he was kind enough to meet with the group of writers who had contributed to The Healing Pen, a book of writings from the Writing Group which I facilitated at Cancer Care West, Galway.  Everyone was thrilled to meet him on that memorable occasion at Cancer Care West Support Centre and he was so warm and made time to meet with everyone . We often used his poetry in writing exercises in the Writing Group there.

Today, I’ve been thinking about one of those poems which we used, Clearances, which so poignantly  describes his childhood memories of his mother as she lay dying.  The poem describes a tender moment  which he shared with her in a time long past when together they would peel the potatoes for Sunday dinner while everyone else was at Mass. So perhaps today too is a time to recall vibrant memories of a truly great man.

So while the Parish priest at her bedside

Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying

And some were responding and some crying

I remembered her head bent towards my head,

 Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives-

Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

Seamus Heaney

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