Death of a Naturalist – RIP Seamus Heaney

I was six when i first saw kittens drown

You might think I’m quoting “Early Purges” by Seamus Heaney who died today aged 74. But i’m not, it’s a statement of fact,  I was six when i first saw kittens drown.  Walter Murray (who was just like Dan Taggart) put them in a sack with a brick in and threw them in the River Mersey.  He didn’t say

‘Sure, isn’t it better for them now?’

But it was.

Heaney has been close to me all my life.  He was like my poetic father.  He spoke of Ireland and a of generation before mine but a generation i understood and respected.  

He was beautiful and God like. I heard him read many times and  I once shook his hand and feebly said “Mr Heaney……..”  nothing else, for there was nothing else to be said.

I quoted him this morning to Emyr Griffiths, a Welsh farmer and friend who is over in manchester visiting with his family.  My caravan is on his farm and in the last 5 years i have seen the words of Seamus Heaney come to life by spending time with Emyr on his farm, where i have delivered cows, been blackberry picking, Bailing, Digging and much of the things Heaney spoke about in his poetry.

He has always been by my side, a prop when my Mam died.   I read and blogged “Clearances For M.K.H” everyday for 2 years when my Mam was diagnosed with cancer.  I still read it…..everyday.

 Thank you Seamus, you helped me get through.

All his poetry is a guide of rare beauty – he writes about family, his love for his father, his wife his kids, his own insecurities of life, the things that are most important to me but he writes in a way i could never dream of.  Every word i have ever written would not amount to a single serif in one of his letters.

He has helped me live my life in a better way.  He has brought a richness to it as well as a deeper understanding of the human soul.  Now his body has gone but his soul lives on and like all the people who i have lost and loved i will try to stay strong and celebrate his life and not be sad because death is natural as he says in the final stanza of Early purges.

“Prevention of cruelty’ talk cuts ice in town

Where they consider death unnatural

But on well-run farms pests have to be kept down.” 

and i live on a well run farm where death is natural.

Thank you Seamus, your words will live forever


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