Thursday, September 5, 2013

Seamus Heaney is Dead

for Mrs. Beth Oder

Of all the eddies, rocks, and currents
which whirled my education
round and found or foundered
my desires, so much to thank
have I my English teachers for,
who stood athwart the door of
language, love, and laughing life
distilled into these tomes,
these homes of men and angels,
devils, too, which thrilled
my soul and put in motion
pendula of prose or poems
which trickle tick-tock out from time to time.

Among the throng of authors,
scribblers, playwrights, hacks,
and geniuses to whom the class
was ushered in their turn,
one man stood up,
feet wide and shoulders back,
collared us and hollered words of
ages past, of demons, heroes, deeds,
and fatal pride,
a wide embrace of
round sound,
rolling rumbles of the Saxon earth
beneath our feet,
so deep it might have been unnoticed,
but the fault lines of our language shift and shock,
a-tremble at the tread of Beowulf
and his awen,
Seamus Heaney,
who is dead.

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