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Blog » Ireland’s Nobel Prize-Winning Poet, Seamus Heaney, Dies aged 74

Tributes are flowing for the Irish poet and Nobel Prize winner, Seamus Heaney, who has died at the age of 74.  But it is true of most great poets that somewhere in their work they write their own obituary, at least some summation of their lives and work that no-one else could better.  Whether or not you are a reader of poetry, now is the time to read his words, rather than those of others, however eloquent, to find out what he had to say and why it was and is important.  Here, as a starter, are some lines from A Kite for Michael and Christopher, in which a father symbolically passes a kite (an emblem of the turbulent joy of life?) to his two sons:

Before the kite plunges down into the wood
and this line goes useless
take in your two hands, boys, and feel
the strumming, rooted, long-tailed pull of grief.
You were born fit for it.
Stand in here in front of me 
and take the strain.

 

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