‘On the Death of Seamus Heaney’ by Tom Sexton

Poet Tom Sexton is a great friend of this publication. He sent a poem tonight from the other side of North America, where, in his Alaskan home, he got the news about the passing of poet Seamus Heaney of Ireland and the world.—PM


On the Death of Seamus Heaney


He is crossing those four green fields now.

On the horizon, blossoms white as snow.

A chorus calls his name. He does not break stride

toward a small house. He hears his mother’s sigh.

Now he eyes his father holding a tall ladder,

and at the top of the ladder stands his brother

skimming the gable, shaping the letters S. H.

in new plaster. It covers his hands and knees

as blood did on the day he died. They turn

and go inside, listen to butter being churned.


—Tom Sexton (c) 2013