Saddened by the (too early) death of one of the world's greatest poets, at the age of 74. Announcement here. This is an extract from one of my favourite poems, on the Poetry Foundation's website. It's deceptively simple and as unassuming as Seamus Heaney was himself.
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down
Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.
The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.
By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man. . . . (Click here to read on)