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Seamus Heaney on St. Patrick's Day

An excerpt from Clearances, by Seamus Heaney:

When all the others were away at Mass I was all hers as we peeled potatoes. They broke the silence, let fall one by one Like solder weeping off the soldering iron: Cold comforts set between us, things to share Gleaming in a bucket of clean water. And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes From each other's work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying And some were responding and some crying I remembered her head bent towards my head, Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives— Never closer the whole rest of our lives.


From Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966-1996, Seamus Heaney

Available at the local, independent Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza: https://www.bhny.com/book/9780374526788


In case you missed it...

On Monday, Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl moderated an Irish American Heritage Forum titled "Faith, Family & the Democratic Party: The Irish Influence on Albany Politics." The event was the brainchild of Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce and featured the following panelists:

  • Elizabeth Stack, Executive Director at the Irish American Heritage Museum, former associate director of the Institute of Irish Studies at Fordham University

  • Hon. Jack McEneny, former NYS Assembly member (1993-2012) and author several non-fiction books, including Albany: Capital City on the Hudson

  • Terry Golway, presidential historian, political journalist, senior editor at POLITICO. His books include Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics

  • William Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, founder of the NYS Writers Institute, and author of O Albany!: Improbable City of Political Wizards, Fearless Ethnics, Spectacular, Aristocrats, Splendid Nobodies, and Underrated Scoundrels

A wonderful, freewheeling discussion filled with insights, anecdotes, and historical nuggets. You can view it at https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=291670849060200 (You don't need to be a Facebook user to watch the video.)