Homage to St. Seamus

I rhyme to see myself, to set the darkness echoing.” Seamus Heaney

 

For years I’ve knelt at your holy wells
and envied the cut of your clean-edged song,
lay down in the bog where dead men dwell,
grieved with ghosts who told their wrongs.

Your consonants cleave my soft palate.
I taste their music and savor it long
past the last line of the taut sonnet,
its rhyming subtle, its accent strong.

And every poem speaks a sacrament,
blood of blessing, bread of the word,
feeding me full in language ancient
as Aran’s rock and St. Kevin’s birds.
English will never be the same.

To make it ours is why you came.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
7 years 6 months ago

A lovely hommage to St. Seamus.  A lovely "tribute to the source" also as an echo of Robert Frost:


Never again would birds' song be the same;


And to do that to birds was why she came.

Angela O'Donnell
3 years 9 months ago

Thank you, Thomas Eichler, for picking up on the echo of Frost in the concluding couplet.  I take my cue from T.S. Eliot--"Good poets borrow, great poets steal."  Here's to literary thievery!

 

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

A woman holds up a sign during a rally against assisted suicide in 2016 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. (CNS photo/Art Babych)
The American College of Physicians called for better promotion of palliative and hospice care, which opponents of physician-assisted suicide say are underutilized areas of medicine that could address concerns of patients facing difficult illnesses.
Michael J. O’LoughlinSeptember 21, 2017
(CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
"We have a priest who makes everyone feel welcome, says Mass with great reverence and gives meaningful homilies"
Our readersSeptember 21, 2017
Photo by Victor Lozano on Unsplash
Any willingness to cooperate across party lines is praiseworthy. Unfortunately, brinkmanship remains the preferred legislative strategy.
The EditorsSeptember 21, 2017
Pope Francis, seen here at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on June 28, has announced two significant reforms in recent weeks by releasing statements motu proprio. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
When a pope issues a document “motu proprio,” it means he does so by his own motivation, and it can mean a significant change to church law.
Michael J. O’LoughlinSeptember 21, 2017