The National Catholic Review

I rhyme to see myself, to set the darkness echoing.” Seamus Heaney

 

For years I’ve knelt at your holy wells
and envied the cut of your clean-edged song,
lay down in the bog where dead men dwell,
grieved with ghosts who told their wrongs.

Your consonants cleave my soft palate.
I taste their music and savor it long
past the last line of the taut sonnet,
its rhyming subtle, its accent strong.

And every poem speaks a sacrament,
blood of blessing, bread of the word,
feeding me full in language ancient
as Aran’s rock and St. Kevin’s birds.
English will never be the same.

To make it ours is why you came.

Angela O’Donnell is a professor of English and associate director of the Curran Center for American Studies at Fordham University in New York City.

Comments

Angela O'Donnell | 12/10/2013 - 12:41pm

Thank you, Thomas Eichler, for picking up on the echo of Frost in the concluding couplet.  I take my cue from T.S. Eliot--"Good poets borrow, great poets steal."  Here's to literary thievery!

 

THOMAS EICHLER | 3/14/2010 - 6:27pm

A lovely hommage to St. Seamus.  A lovely "tribute to the source" also as an echo of Robert Frost:


Never again would birds' song be the same;


And to do that to birds was why she came.

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