“Parrying the crush with my bagged Virgil”

As Shane Hegarty noted on Friday at the Irish Times’ PresentTense blog, “despite it arriving completely under the media radar”, Seamus Heaney’s new book of poetry, “The Riverbank Field”, with paintings and drawings by Royal Hibernian Academy member Martin Gale, sold out immediately – in fact it was sold out last Sunday. So I owe a big ‘Thank you!’ to CyberScribe for feeding my Seamus Heaney Poetry Obsession Disorder [SHPOD] by alerting me to the publication.. and to Read Ireland for the copy now sitting on my bookshelf. Kenny’s may have got a copy too..

As advertised, it is a very handsome publication. The first image below is from Kenny’s copy..

But this is from mine

And here’s one of the Martin Gale paintings inside the edition.

And some of the new poetry by Seamus Heaney, from the 12-part Route 110

Route 110


Smithfield Market Saturdays. The pet shop
Fetid with droppings in the rabbit cages,
Melodious with canaries, green and gold,

But silent now as birdless Lake Avernus.
I hurried on, shortcutting to the buses,
Parrying the crush with my bagged Virgil,

Past booths and the jambs of booths festooned
With canvas schoolbags, heads for brushes, caps,
Feather dusters, artificial flowers,

Then racks of suits and overcoats that swayed
When one was tugged from its overcrowded frame
Like their owners’ shades close packed on Charon’s barge.

btw, he’s over at the Poetry Archive too..

Adds The copy for sale on E-Bay remains unsold.. for now..