Casualty

HeaneySeamus Heaney died today. The New York Times headline described him as “Irish poet of soil and strife.”

I don’t pretend to always understand poetry though I savor it. I am always awed by how poets use language in such an artful way. My favorite poet of all time remains Pablo Neruda, who is simply magical to me. Seamus Heaney was another writer I have admired for a long time.

The world has lost another terrific writer today.

Here is my favorite verse by Heaney from his poem, “Casualty.”

It was a day of cold
Raw silence, wind-blown
surplice and soutane:
Rained-on, flower-laden
Coffin after coffin
Seemed to float from the door
Of the packed cathedral
Like blossoms on slow water.
The common funeral
Unrolled its swaddling band,
Lapping, tightening
Till we were braced and bound
Like brothers in a ring.
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