Irish Poetry
Modern Irish Poetry
Heaney and Brodsky
Audenesque Seamus Heaney, 1939 - 2013 in memory of Joseph Brodsky
Seamus Heaney’s ‘Digging’
Category: literatureliterature

Irish poetry

1. Irish Poetry

by Aleksandra Klescheva, 1MA

2. Modern Irish Poetry

An explosion of talent and publishing has been one of the
consequences of free secondary school education introduced in the
1960s, allowing many southern poets (e.g. Thomas
McCarthy, John Ennis, Dennis O’Driscoll, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill)
to come to wider notice.


The Arts Council of Ireland (Chomhairle Ealaíon na
hÉireann in Irish) is a government funded body which
promotes art in the Republic of Ireland
«Literature is an integral part of people's lives in
Ireland, it is essential to our culture and society».



Seamus Justin Heaney, (13 April 1939 – 30 August
2013) was an Irish poet, playwright, translator and
lecturer. He received the 1995 Nobel Prize in


“...that rare thing, a poet rated highly by critics and academics yet
popular with 'the common reader...”
Blake Morrison, “Seamus Heaney”
“...the poet who has shown the finest art in presenting a coherent
vision of Ireland, past and present...”
Richard Murphy, The New York Review


The poet sought to weave the ongoing Irish troubles into a broader
historical frame embracing the general human situation in the
books Wintering Out (1973) and North (1975).


9. Heaney and Brodsky


Иосиф Бродский
Шеймусу Хини (1990)
Я проснулся от крика чаек в Дублине.
На рассвете их голоса звучали
как души, которые так загублены,
что не испытывают печали.
Облака шли над морем в четыре яруса,
точно театр навстречу драме,
набирая брайлем постскриптум ярости
и беспомощности в остекленевшей раме...

11. Audenesque Seamus Heaney, 1939 - 2013 in memory of Joseph Brodsky

Joseph, yes, you know the beat.
Wystan Auden’s metric feet
Marched to it, unstressed and stressed,
Laying William Yeats to rest.
Therefore, Joseph, on this day,
Yeats’s anniversary,
(Double-crossed and death-marched date,
January twenty-eight)...

12. Seamus Heaney’s ‘Digging’

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; as snug as a gun.
Under my window a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down
Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.
The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright
edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.
By God, the old man could handle a spade,
Just like his old man.
My grandfather could cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner's bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, digging down and down
For the good turf. Digging.
The cold smell of potato mold, the squelch and
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it.


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