You are here

Seamus Heaney Opens The Poetry Library At The South Bank

Myra Schneider

Two hundred of us

crush into carpeted silence -

mostly fingerers of words,

pebbles to be turned and turned

till they fire and meld.


We listen to the Irish poet

who once dreamed of London’s

distant poetry addresses.

Now other dreamers

must be dreaming that he dwells

in these out-of-reach places.


He speaks in rhythms satisfying

as the fold of furrow and ridge

across rabbit-brown fields,

in words that sail over the carolling

of children’s unripened voices

in the concert hall below,

over the gamelan’s chime and ting,

over the chirps of toddlers parked

in the room with glass walls,

over the running river wefted

with threads of dazzle light.


When he reads his poem I see

the ‘A’ of his childhood alphabet

tip into ‘MARINERS’ REST’,

letters large with the allure

of mystery, lined up

on a wooden roof, against

the blue of sky - letters

that taunted me each day

as I jolted past on the school bus

till at last, triumphant,

I straddled them, rode away

into a wildness glory touches.


From The North No 7 (1989)