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Book Title: The Spirit Level: Poems|
The author of the book: Seamus Heaney
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 1.84 MB
Edition: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Date of issue: April 10th 1997
ISBN 13: 9780374525118
Read full description of the books The Spirit Level: Poems:Since Seanus Heaney’s recent death I been spending time reading and rereading his poetry. This collection is one that I’ve not read before, and I’m glad that I now have done so. The Spirit Level was published in 1996, in the middle of Heaney’s career. It contains a variety of poetic forms, some poems being formal, some using free verse. Each matches its content well.
Here are some examples of Heaney’s use of language:
From “The Rain Stick” –
“…In a cactus stalk
Downpour, sluice-rush, spillage and backwash
Come flowing through…”
The entirety of “A Call” –
“’Hold on,’ she said, “I’ll just run out and get him.
The weather here’s so good, he took the chance
To do a bit of weeding.’
So I saw him
Down on his hands and knees beside the leek rig,
Touching, inspecting, separating one
Stalk from the other, gently pulling up
Everything not tapered, frail and leafless,
Pleased to feel each little weed-root break,
But rueful also…
Then found myself listening to
The amplified grave ticking of hall clocks
Where the phone lay unattended in a calm
Of mirror glass and sunstruck pendulums…
And found myself then thinking: if it were nowadays,
This is how Death would summon Everyman.
Next thing he spoke and I nearly said I loved him.”
And the collection’s final poem, implicitly a tribute to Yeats, “Postscript” –
“And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.”
This is a wonderful collection. I should also mention that the photo of Heaney on the back cover is magnificent and, in light of our recent loss of his great talent and deep humanity, haunting.
Read information about the authorSeamus Justin Heaney was an Irish poet, writer and lecturer from County Derry, Ireland. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995, "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past."
Heaney on Wikipedia.
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