But Seamus Heaney will never be gone from the world, will he?
One morning in the month of June
I was coming out of this door
And found myself in a garden,
A sanctuary of light and air
Transplanted from the Hesperides,
No sound of machinery anywhere,
When from a bramble bush a hidden
Blackbird suddenly gave tongue,
Its diffident, resilient song
Breaking the silence of the seas.
Derek Mahon, Poems 1962-1978 (Oxford University Press 1979).
Stephen McKenna, "Foliage" (1983)
To a Blackbird
O pagan poet, you
And I are one
In this -- we lose our god
At set of sun.
And we are kindred when
The hill wind shakes
Sweet song like blossoms on
The calm green lakes.
We dream while Earth's sad children
Go slowly by
Pleading for our conversion
With the Most High.
Patrick Kavanagh, Ploughman and Other Poems (1936).
Michael Garton (1935-2004), "Woodland Clearing"
The Bangor Blackbird
from the Old Irish (9th century),
Just audible over the waves
a blackbird among leaves
whistling to the bleak
lough from her whin beak.
Derek Mahon, Adaptations (The Gallery Press 2006).
The poem translated by Mahon in "The Bangor Blackbird" was also translated by John Hewitt in the first stanza of his "Gloss, on the Difficulties of Translation" (which I have previously posted):
Across Loch Laig
the yellow-billed blackbird
whistles from the blossomed whin.
Dane Maw, "Woolverton and Peart Woods" (1970)
When you have nothing more to say, just drive
For a day all round the peninsula.
The sky is tall as over a runway,
The land without marks, so you will not arrive
But pass through, though always skirting landfall.
At dusk, horizons drink down sea and hill,
The ploughed field swallows the whitewashed gable
And you're in the dark again. Now recall
The glazed foreshore and silhouetted log,
That rock where breakers shredded into rags,
The leggy birds stilted on their own legs,
Islands riding themselves out into the fog,
And drive back home, still with nothing to say
Except that now you will uncode all landscapes
By this: things founded clean on their own shapes,
Water and ground in their extremity.
Seamus Heaney, Door into the Dark (Faber and Faber 1969).
Harold Jones, "The Black Door" (c. 1935)