In case you have not heard, wonderful Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, passed away last week. In the past year, I have really fallen in love with his work and the great depth and meaning he slips into to such simple phrases. I was very sad to hear the world lost such a great, artistic soul.
He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1995, and is best known for his poems exploring the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
After visiting Belfast earlier this year, I was given a very small taste of the conflict there. It is hard to describe the heartache the region has experienced in the last hundred years. So much death and bloodshed. Heaney often pondered the role of the artist in such a conflict in his work. Never once did he use his work to take sides, despite the Catholic nationalist influence of his background.
His poems are beautiful and complex. He often talks of his life on the farm, or simple everyday experiences, layered with undertones of historical musings or political thoughts. There is so much in a Heaney poem, that I am sometimes left breathless after a reading.
In honor of his passing, I would like to share “Digging” one of his most popular poems that just happens to be about writing.
Below is a video of him reading and the text beneath that. I feel his poems are best experienced when heard with his accent 😉
Between my finger and my thumb