Deep sadness at death of Seamus Heaney

30 08 2013

Seamus Heaney

SDLP MLA for Mid-Ulster Patsy McGlone has said he is deeply saddened by the news that Seamus Heaney has passed away.
Mr McGlone said:
“I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Seamus Heaney who leaves a tremendous cultural legacy to the people not just of his native South Derry but to the literary world.
“Seamus Heaney was the voice of this community, a man of the people who knew his community well and reflected the history and cultural richness of that community.
“I remember him calling into my father’s business when I was younger and being struck by his humility. The last occasion I spoke to him was at Anahorish School, a place which inspired much of his poetry.
“My sincerest sympathies go to the Heaney and Devlin families at this time. We will continue to be inspired no doubt by the great cannon of literary work which is his legacy. Sar fhile, duine den scoth, ar lámh dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”
SDLP MLA for Culture, Arts and Leisure Karen McKevitt said:
“The news that Seamus Heaney has died will be met with great sadness by people on this Island and across the world who held him in such high esteem.
“His work touched the hearts and minds of people across the globe and culminated in his receiving the Nobel Prize for literature in 1995.
“Only two weeks ago Seamus Heaney attended the Merriman summer school in Lisdoonvarna which showed his continued dedication to his craft.
“I have no doubt that his body of work will continue to inspire and uplift all those who responded to his thoughtful and profound pieces of work.”

Former SDLP leader and Nobel peace laureate John Hume also has expressed his deep sadness at the death of his lifelong friend
Mr Hume said: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of my good friend Seamus Heaney.
“His poetry expressed a special love of people, place and diversity of life.
“That profound regard for humanity has made his poetry a special channel for repudiating violence, injustice and prejudice, and urging us all to the better side of our human nature.
“I have always received great inspiration from his written word and I am deeply grateful for the personal encouragement that I always received from such a warm friend and a wise man.
“My heartfelt condolences go to Marie, Michael, Christopher, Catherine and his extended family at this very sad time.”

From The Cure at Troy,” Heaney’s translation of “The Philoctetes,” by Sophocles. 

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.

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