Seamus Heaney, Nobel Prize winning Poet Laureate and one of Ireland’s most loved writers, has passed away at the age of 74 – a man whose words, wisdom and critique of Irish Society and Culture will be sincerely missed all over our Island and the world. I remember well my own 6th class teacher, Mr. Donal Slater, teaching us Requiem for the Croppies:
The pockets of our greatcoats full of barley –
No kitchens on the run, no striking camp –
We moved quick and sudden in our own country
The priest lay behind ditches with the tramp.
A people, hardly marching – on the hike –
We found new tactics happening each day:
We’d cut through reins and rider with the pike
And stampede cattle into infantry,
Then retreat through hedges where cavalry must be thrown.
Until, on Vinegar Hill, the fatal conclave.
Terraced thousands died, shaking scythes at cannon.
The hillside blushed, soaked in our broken wave.
They buried us without shroud or coffin
And in August the barley grew up out of the grave.
– Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)