LoSoRhyMo 7: After reading Seamus Heaney’s Human Chain

Seamus Heaney, Human Chain (Faber & Faber 2010)

Blogging about Human Chain as part of my LoSoRhyMo sonneteering is lighting a penny candle to a star, and not just because none of its poems are sonnets. I  don’t have any pretensions to writing even a pastiche of Seamus Heaney. But a quota is a quota, so I’ll just say the book is something to immerse oneself in, and get on with it. I hope this makes some kind of sense.

Sonnet 7: Northern Ireland / Far North Queensland
Ask me to translate Seamus Heaney
(Derry, seggins, Upper Broagh),
I’ll try lantana, Mirriwinni,
Waugh’s Pocket – my dad’s puzzling laugh
when someone spelled that ‘whore’ – but stet
Church Latin, soil and honest sweat,
Virgil, cards: Bill Markwell, joker,
feared dona f’rentes Greeks at poker.
Wraiths of our fathers thirsting still,
voiceless now Kramastos, Markwell.
Like torches shining down a dark well
may poems give them drink until
they come back to the light of day,
beloved, but not all the way.

2 responses to “LoSoRhyMo 7: After reading Seamus Heaney’s Human Chain

  1. just read this, Jonathan. thought you’d find it amusing: ‘Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges … spent much of his life composing unremarkable sonnets [ about 2000 a year as he got older ] ….

    in the same journal —- LRB — there is a wonderful sonnet by Anne Carson


  2. Thanks, John. That gives me something to aspire to. At my present rate I’d manage significantly fewer than 200 unremarkable sonnets a year. But it’s definitely addictive.


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