Author Connections 1

Connection with Authors I Enjoy

Standing in front of my desk, I looked at the different books. Clearly, I am an eclectic reader but my passion lies with poetry. Poetry for me is excising our inner demons and every poet has a signature style. I love entering a poet’s domain. I study initially what they rhymed or didn’t. How did they use alliteration?

I lingered with Seamus Heaney this morning. His rhymes are not smooth at all but they work well (dungarees and rosaries, whops and footsteps, joys and tallboys). There are the typical ones like (dose and rose) too. I enjoy reading all kinds of rhymes because some are smooth as glass and others are clunky as heels on a hardwood floor. What matters most is the minute detail that a poet uses to create his/her work. Heaney to me is down to earth with his plainly spoken words that give the reader an extraordinary view of everyday existence. There are no illusions with Heaney. He challenges demons with delightful anecdotes.

Poetry contributor William Logan comments, “The younger Heaney wrote like a man possessed by demons, even when those demons were very literary demons; the older Heaney seems to wonder, bemusedly, what sort of demon he has become himself.” [i] I feel like I’m battling demons in my writing all the time, I think we all do.

This is one of my favorites of Heaney’s poems.[ii]

Death of a Naturalist


All year the flax-dam festered in the heart

Of the townland; green and heavy headed

Flax had rotted there, weighted down by huge sods.

Daily it sweltered in the punishing sun.

Bubbles gargled delicately, bluebottles

Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell.

There were dragonflies, spotted butterflies,

But best of all was the warm thick slobber

Of frogspawn that grew like clotted water

In the shade of the banks. Here, every spring

I would fill jampotfuls of the jellied

Specks to range on window sills at home,

On shelves at school, and wait and watch until

The fattening dots burst, into nimble

Swimming tadpoles. Miss Walls would tell us how

The daddy frog was called a bullfrog

And how he croaked and how the mammy frog

Laid hundreds of little eggs and this was

Frogspawn. You could tell the weather by frogs too

For they were yellow in the sun and brown

In rain.

    Then one hot day when fields were rank

With cowdung in the grass the angry frogs

Invaded the flax-dam; I ducked through hedges

To a coarse croaking that I had not heard

Before. The air was thick with a bass chorus.

Right down the dam gross bellied frogs were cocked

On sods; their loose necks pulsed like sails. Some hopped:

The slap and plop were obscene threats. Some sat

Poised like mud grenades, their blunt heads farting.

I sickened, turned, and ran. The great slime kings

Were gathered there for vengeance and I knew

That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.



Seamus Heaney, “Death of a Naturalist” from Opened Ground: Selected poems 1966-1996. Copyright © 1999

[ii] Seamus Heaney, “Death of a Naturalist” from Opened Ground: Selected poems 1966-1996. Copyright © 1999

3 thoughts on “Author Connections 1

  1. Pingback: More Poetry – CRAIN'S COMMENTS

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