“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..


  • Nevin

    Seamus Heaney at the Poetry Archive.

  • Pete Baker

    Yes, Nevin, it’s included at the final link in the original post.

  • Nevin

    Pete, I expected a direct link so I thought it might be useful to add one.

  • Pete Baker

    There’s a copy for sale on E-Bay for anyone really interested

  • Sean Graham’s Bookies

    Ireland’s classics scholar and GAA great John Wilson died today and all ye can come up with is Paddy Kavanagh’s shadow.
    Mullahoran weeps.

  • Pete Baker

    12 hours left on the E-Bay item..

  • darth rumsfeld

    …er.. it’s not very good is it?
    I think only a Vogon captain could come up with such bollix, but he wouldn’t pass it off as art

  • pith


    It doesn’t need to be passed off. It is.

    Orange arches on the other hand…