Seamus Heaney dies at 74

Seamus_HeaneyThe world of languages and literatures suffered a great loss as August came to a close, and the Irish poet Seamus Heaney passed away at age 74. Renowned for his work, he was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature. He was author of more than a dozen collections of poetry, among other critical works and plays. A service was held at the Church of Sacred Heart in Donnybrook, Dublin, to a packed devotion of family (including his wife and children), friends, and members of the local and arts communities.

His poem “Anything Can Happen” first appeared in District and Circle, and was featured on Poem-A-Day on September 5, 2013.

Anything can happen. You know how Jupiter
Will mostly wait for clouds to gather head
Before he hurls the lightning? Well, just now
He galloped his thunder cart and his horses

Across a clear blue sky. It shook the earth
And the clogged underearth, the River Styx,
The winding streams, the Atlantic shore itself.
Anything can happen, the tallest towers

Be overturned, those in high places daunted,
Those overlooked regarded. Stropped-beak Fortune
Swoops, making the air gasp, tearing the crest off one,
Setting it down bleeding on the next.

Ground gives. The heaven’s weight
Lifts up off Atlas like a kettle-lid.
Capstones shift, nothing resettles right.
Telluric ash and fire-spores boil away.

He will be missed, and remembered.

Read more at the Irish Times, the New York Times, or the Paris Review. Many of his works can be found in the Literatures & Languages Library; follow the link here to view the catalog holdings.


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