Rain Drops, Clematis and Seamus Heaney

02 Oct

After a rainy night we awoke to a beautiful Autumn day and we have spent most of the day gardening. The young Lambs’ Ears  are fluffy and gorgeous, especially with fresh raindrops on them.


The delightful yellow of the clematis Bill Mackenzie brightens up the trellis.dscn7078It is 50 years since the publication of Seamus Heaney’s collection, Death of a Naturalist, and Radio 4 devoted a whole programme to readings of poems from this collection, one of which is Mid Term Break, which I have always found almost unbearable poignant. The last couple of lines are just the saddest and come as a culmination to a beautifully constructed poem.

Mid-Term Break by Seamus Heaney
I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o’clock our neighbours drove me home.In the porch I met my father crying–
He had always taken funerals in his stride–
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were “sorry for my trouble,”
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o’clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year.

Here you can hear Seamus Heaney himself reading this autobiographical poem.

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3 responses to “Rain Drops, Clematis and Seamus Heaney

  1. calvin

    October 5, 2016 at 2:37 am

    Thank you for the trifecta.

    I have always liked the name Séamus.

  2. Our Growing Paynes

    October 3, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Raindrops on plants are so pretty.


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