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  1. Although the back of Seamus Heaney's 2006 collection District and Circle (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) declares that, "Seamus Heaney's first collection, Death of a Naturalist, appeared forty years ago," I myself have only recently become acquainted with his work. I posted a LINK to the first poem I read by him, "Clearances #5," in A Poem I Read Today. That poem, along with many of Heaney's poems in District and Circle, is (IMHO) a contemporary sonnet -- a fourteen-line poem written in (mostly) iambic pentameter. It contains some rhyme, more than the others from District and Circle that I will share here. The first is from a sequence of five poems. The title of the five-poem series is the same as the book -- District and Circle Tunes from a tin whistle underground Curled up a corridor I'd be walking down To where I knew I was always going to find My watcher on the tiles, cap by his side, His fingers perked, his two eyes eyeing me In an unaccusing look I'd not avoid, Or not just yet, since both were out to see For ourselves. As the music larked and capered I'd trigger and untrigger a hot coin Held at the ready, but now my gaze was lowered For was our traffic not in recognition? Accorded passage, I would re-pocket and nod, And he, still eyeing me, would also nod. There are four more sonnets in the sequence that describe experiences on the subway, or the underground. I wonder how old the narrator persona is in this sequence? Here are two more sonnets from the same book: In Iowa In Iowa once, among the Mennonites In a slathering blizzard, conveyed all afternoon Through sleet-glit pelting hard against the windscreen And a wiper's strong absolving flumps and flits, I saw, abandoned in the open gap Of a field where wilted corn stalks flagged the snow, A mowing machine. Snow brimmed its iron seat, Heaped each spoked wheel with a thick white brow, And took the shine off oil in the black-toothed gears. Verily I came forth from that wilderness As one unbaptized who had known darkness At the third hour and the veil in tatters. In Iowa once. In the slush and rush and hiss Not of parted but as of rising waters. Polish Sleepers Once they'd been block-built criss-cross and four-squared We lived with them and breathed pure creosote Until they were laid and landscaped in a kerb, A moulded verge, half-skirting, half-stockade, Soon fringed with hardy ground-cover and grass. But as that bulwark bleached in sun and rain And the washed gravel pathway showed no stain, Under its parched riverbed Flinch and crunch I imagined tarry pus Accruing, bearing forward to the garden Wafts of what conspired when I'd lie Listening for the goods from Castledawson … Each languid, clanking waggon, And afterwards, rust, thistles, silence, sky. Then, there is this delightful, short poem: A Hagging Match Axe-thumps outside like wave-hits through a night ferry: -------you whom I cleave to, hew to, splitting firewood. I find it intriguing that the back cover of District and Circle also states that, "Scenes from a childhood spent far from the horrors of World War II are colored by a strongly contemporary sense that 'Anything can happen....'" The book also contains some prose pieces. Here is the Wikipedia link on SEAMUS HEANEY. Here is a link to the Beacons at Bealtaine, a poem delivered at the EU Enlargement Ceremony by Heaney. I hope others will also share what they know about this fascinating and very popular contemporary poet.
  2. goldenlangur

    The Skylight

    The Skylight You were the one for skylights. I opposed Cutting into the seasoned tongue-and-groove Of pitch pine. I liked it low and closed, Its claustrophobic, nest-up-in-the-roof Effect. I liked the snuff-dry feeling, The perfect, trunk-lid fit of the old ceiling. Under there, it was all hutch and hatch. The blue slates kept the heat like midnight thatch. But when the slates came off, extravagant Sky entered and held surprise wide open. For days I felt like an inhabitant Of that house where the man sick of the palsy Was lowered through the roof, had his sins forgiven, Was healed, took up his bed and walked away. Seamus Heaney
  3. The poem and two different interpretations of it can be read at this LINK.
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