CROSSING IRELAND: "HOMAGE to ST. SEAMUS" by ANGELA ALAIMO O'DONNELL

The ninth of twelve poems in Angela Alaimo O’Donnell’s series. Click “Crossing Ireland” for the opening essay.  More about Angela Alaimo O’Donnell.

HOMAGE to ST. SEAMUS

I rhyme to see myself, to set the darkness echoing.”

                                                                   Seamus Heaney

 –

For years I’ve knelt at your holy wells

and envied the cut of your clean-edged song,

lay down in the bog where dead men dwell,

grieved with ghosts who told their wrongs.

 

Your consonants cleave my soft palate.

I taste their music and savor it long

past the last line of the taut sonnet,

its rhyming subtle, its accent strong.

 

And every poem speaks a sacrament,

blood of blessing, bread of the word,

feeding me full in language ancient

as Árann’s rock and St. Kevin’s birds.

 

English will never be the same.

To make it ours is why you came.

th-19 

 

5 thoughts on “CROSSING IRELAND: "HOMAGE to ST. SEAMUS" by ANGELA ALAIMO O'DONNELL

  1. Stunning! Seamus Heaney spoke at Goshen College. I’m sending this to a friend who was able to attract him to a small college.

  2. Angela, What a lovely hymn to Seamus Heaney. The texture, the internal rhymes (bog, song, long, strong, blood, bread) show how you have taken his language into your own. You’re so right, that “English will never be the same.” Yet he abides. Thank you!

  3. Thank you, Maura and Shirley for your Good Words. Yes, I love the fact that Heaney was willing to speak wherever and whenever he was asked, if he could. He was a true evangelizer, when it came to poetry. Thanks, Susan, for noticing the music in the poem. Heaney is responsible. Indeed, he doth abide.

    Cheers & Slainte,
    Angela

  4. What a wonderful poem. Angela Alaimo O’Donnell is a gifted poet. I know that wherever Seamus is—and I think I know where that is—he is delighted and pleased.

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