Seamus Heaney on Work

“Book learning is the thing.
You’re a lucky man.
No stock to feed, no milking times, no tillage
Nor blisters on your hand nor weather-worries”

~ Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney on Hope

“Anything can happen, the tallest towers
Be overturned, those in high places daunted,
Those overlooked regarded.”

~ Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney on Perseverance

“Macoige of Lismore, for instance,
Who, when asked which attribute
Of character was best, replied
“Steadiness, for it is best

When a man has set his hand to tasks
To persevere. I have never heard
Fault found with that.”

~ Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney on Suffering

“Human beings suffer.
They torture one another
They get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
Can fully right a wrong
Inflicted and endured.”

~ Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney on Justice

“History says, Don’t hope On this side of the grave, But then, once in a lifetime The longed-for tidal wave Of justice can rise up And hope and history rhyme. . . Believe that a farther shore Is reachable from here. Believe in miracles And cures and healing wells.”

~ Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney – From “The Cure At Troy”

“Human beings suffer,
They torture one another,
They get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
Can fully right a wrong
Inflicted and endured.

The innocent in gaols
Beat on their bars together.
A hunger-striker’s father
Stands in the graveyard dumb.
The police widow in veils
Faints at the funeral home.

History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracle
And cures and healing wells.

Call miracle self-healing:
The utter, self-revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
Or lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky

That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.”
― Seamus Heaney