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Seamus Heaney -
Glanmore Sonnets - VII

Why this poem?

One of Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney's most famous works.  Although I'm not a mariner, the words of the shipping forecast seem reassuring as they're the same every day.  This poem has the same lilting lyrical quality to it, painting images of the sea like John Masefield.

Glanmore Sonnets - VII

for Ann Saddlemyer 'our heartiest welcomer'

Dogger, Rockall, Malin, Irish Sea:
Green, swift upsurges, North Atlantic flux
Conjured by that strong gale-warming voice,
Collapse into a sibilant penumbra.
Midnight and closedown.  Sirens of the tundra,
Of eel-road, seal-road, keel-road, whale-road, raise
Their wind-compounded keen behind the baize
And drive the trawlers to the lee of Wicklow.
L'Etoile, Le Guillemot, La Belle Hélène
Nursed their bright names this morning in the bay
That toiled like mortar.  It was marvellous
And actual, I said out loud, 'A haven,'
The word deepening, clearing, like the sky
Elsewhere on Minches, Cromarty, The Faroes.

Last updated: 31/10/2005 This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence. ©2004 R GillinCreative Commons Licence