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michael hogan

(July 14,1943 / Newport, Rhode Island)

In Memoriam

- Seamus Heaney 1939-2013

There are no diggers today:
a small backhoe removed clotted earth the night before
careful not to disturb your brother’s fragile bones.
A poppy bruise where the car struck the three-year-old
gone now and his frangible skull white and clean
like the soul on First Communion day.
Everything passes, even memory.
So forgive the Times obit clerk
who wrote “the greatest poet since Yeats”
and left you standing above us like the plinth of Ozymandias.
You would not have wanted that. You with your cambered
trots across the bogs, with another tool than the spade
digging up moments cold and damp
but for all that not totally bereft of grace
in the splintered half-light of the North
where Borstal boys threw rocks at Brits
and drunken schoolmasters sang rebel songs in partisan pubs.

Saint Mary’s is a quiet church most days. Father Dolan remembers
the hunger strikers who died in ’81.
And Danny Quinn is at the schoolhouse today
because this is not mid-term break but school beginning.
Most weekday mornings the parish pews are empty
except for a few old woman who finger their beads
and pay no attention to the service:
funeral or marriage one and the same.
Today you’ve brought the crowd from Donnybrook in Dublin.
And the blacksmith of Bellaghy(older now than you’ll ever be)
smiles at the what he knew was temporary all the time:
your first name’s famous rhyme. Seamus, farewell.

Submitted: Sunday, September 01, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, September 03, 2013

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