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IN MEMORIAM, SEAMUS HEANEY

In Memoriam, Seamus Heaney

A day after parliament stopped the British from war
and now the heart-stopping news
you are no longer the bearer
of a passport that let you travel far and wide.

Ready to be lugged and thrown, however gently
into the difficult ground you measured
as it was sown, with seed or wound - to flower
only later, for it is near-autumn, and the harvest

coming in is not for you to see or taste.
Seamus, you had the tongue to take what's best
of sound and give out what had to be said -
in a governed way, that understood the dead.

You were no comedian like Wilde,
no tragedian like Yeats; your vision a middle way.
Your Virgil was Ireland, bringing you upwards
to the light, which sees and says the best things.

There will be massacres and weapons inspectors
Sunday, and the year after, and arguably
until time stops working, and it never does.
Only bodies halt, and that is a bitterness

to drink down.  Sweet hearts fail.  Words go on.


poem by Todd Swift, copyright 2013
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