Acclaimed as the greatest Irish poet since W.B.Yeats and rewarded with the Nobel Prize for Literature, Seamus Heaney’s works live on after his death at the age of 74, on 30 August.
Seamus Heaney received the Nobel prize “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”. Many of his poems are centred on his boyhood, having grown up on a farm in the rural heart of County Londonderry. He never forgot his roots. In his poem, “Digging” he describes his grandfather digging turf and his father digging potatoes. The poem ends:
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.
Seamus Heaney possessed a rare humility, his poems always accessible and approachable. We have lost a rare human being, but not his life work.
This BBC obituary gives an overview of his life.