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autumnflowers

After this weekend summer will be over. As I stood in a torrential downpour yesterday afternoon watching my son at soccer practice I expected to feel mournful but instead (soggy shoes notwithstanding) I felt energized.

stormclouds

It’s that old back-to-school feeling, I suppose. Maybe it’s the break I’ve had from my studio work or the school shopping we’ve done. But whatever the reason, my mind is buzzing with ideas and inspirations. So excited to get back to work next week and get the new routine going.

On a sadder note, I wanted to mark the death of poet Seamus Heaney. You can read about his life here here.

Here is one of his earliest and most famous poems Digging….we artists may dig with brushes instead of pens but it’s all really the same sort of archeology.

pen

Digging
By Seamus Heaney

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

Seamus Heaney, “Digging” from Death of a Naturalist. Copyright 1966 by Seamus Heaney.

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