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Seamus Heaney
Published: Tue Apr 15 2003
Art: Paul TheriaultEver New (detail), 2022, acrylic and found paper on scavenged wood
Linked Verses

If I wasn’t there
When Barney Devlin hammered
The midnight anvil
I still can hear it: twelve blows
Struck for the millennium.
_             _ *
His nephew heard it
In Edmonton, Alberta:
The cellular phone
Held high as a horse’s ear,
Barney smiling to himself.
_             _ *
Afterwards I thought
Church bels beyond the starres heard
And then imagined
Barney putting it to me:
“You’ll maybe write a poem.”
_             _ *
What I’ll do instead
Is quote those waterburning
Medieval smiths:
“Huf, puf! Lus, bus! Col!” Such noise
On nights heard no one never.
_             _ *
And Owen Rua
Asking Seamus MacGearailt
To forge him a spade
Clear-sheened, tapered and lightsome
And ringing true as a bell.

See what's inside AGNI 57

Seamus Heaney (1939–2013) wrote some of the most revered poems of his time and published them in twelve collections, from 1966’s Death of a Naturalist to 2010’s Human Chain. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. A former Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University, he lived in Dublin, Ireland, until his death in August 2013. His association with AGNI spanned three decades.

Heaney’s book of prose essays The Government of Tongue: The 1986 T. S. Eliot Memorial Essays was reviewed in AGNI 31/32 by Eamon Grennan.

Order AGNI’s limited-edition broadside of “Saw Music,” first published in AGNI 61 as part of the triptych “Out of This World” and later reprinted in his acclaimed collection District and Circle.

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