Last Saturday brought great sadness to Ireland, and the world, as news of the death of much loved poet and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney emerged.
Tributes have been paid to this Irish legend by presidents, prime ministers, famous musicians, actors and those who recall studying his wonderful words from a recycled poetry book, as wide-eyed students.
But the greatest tribute to this man surely comes from the legacy his work leaves on the nation and indeed the world - powerful, beautiful, painful and evocatve, his lyrical genius made poetry accessible to all. There can be no greater tribute than that, surely.
The following poem ‘Scaffolding’, comes from his first collection ‘Death of a Naturalist’ published in 1966:
Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me
Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.
- Seamus Heaney 1939-2013. RIP