We are immensely saddened by the news that we must report today- Seamus Heaney passed away at the age of 74 yesterday. An Irish poet whose acclaim and influence upon the realms of English literature knew virtually no bounds, our loss of Seamus this week has come as a tragic shock for followers of his work across the world.
One of the most inevitable and bittersweet elements of reporting a passing such as this is this writer's admission that he cannot provide personal anecdotes of Seamus' life beyond his earning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 and his publication of countless translations of classic English texts such as Beowulf and Sir Gawain And The Green Knight. The consolation to be found in this time comes, then, in the legacy which the poet leaves. This legacy can be found not just in terms of his conceptual influence on literature, but moreso in the physical terms of his inspired works of poetry which blended historic context with unbiased patriotic passion, unprovoked yet effective personal humour and raw emotive content.
Like any truly talented crafter of great literature, Seamus could never possibly have gauged the full extent of the influence his works and projects would have upon millions of readers and writers alike. However, those of us who live on can and will remember Seamus' mastery of the English language, his ceaseless passion for the history and development of his own country and his similarly irrefutable dedication to upholding the history of classic literature. Seamus Heaney was a legendary figure of modern English and the grief of his passing will be felt by countless generations of literary contributors and consumers on this warm Summer's eve.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Seamus' family and friends in this difficult time of mourning and commemoration. I have no doubt that obituary articles elsewhere online will use a single quotation to summarise the power and sheer intelligence of this lost great's work, but to me the only truly worthy tribute that can be paid to him is to present you with one of his finest pieces in its full, unblemished form: