Seamus Heaney

A friend of mine, knowing I like poetry, gifted me a small book recovered from a garage sale the other day. The author is Seamus Heaney. I have never heard of him. The book is entitled North.

I prefer to NOT look up background on a poet before reading their work initially. I don’t want to be prejudiced one way or another by the accolades they have or haven’t received. I don’t want to know if they are obscure and unknown, or whether they have received high praise from academic circles. I guess I want to experience their work through my own lens before considering other people’s view.

I randomly opened the book and was immediately drawn in. I later told my friend that I don’t know immediately who to compare him to, other than Shakespeare. I’ll have to give in and look him up at some point. Meanwhile here is an opening stanza to one of his poems. I don’t understand or like the 2nd stanza, but I can’t get the first out of my head:

He courted her
With a decadent sweet art
Like the wind’s vowel
Blowing through the hazels:

If you want to read the 2nd stanza the poem is titled Aisling.

This stanza is completely light compared to the darkness, overall, of the rest of the pieces in the book, which seem to be describing the recovery of bodies dumped in a bog, in Ireland, presumably during the course of war.

I will take it all in, make my guesses toward understanding and then look up more about the book and author online.

To me it is an impressive piece of writing. What a great discovery from a garage sale! Wow.

I will probably transcribe one of the other pieces from the book and post it here at some point in the near future. (for the record)