Saturday, August 31, 2013

Off The Shelf Archives~August

Most of us active in the world of internet poetry have probably heard by now that the celebrated Irish poet and 1995 Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney, passed on Friday, August 30, 2013, at the age of 74.

Mr. Heaney has appeared on my Off The Shelf page previously, but I have chosen another one of his poems to remember him by for this next month, Personal Helicon.

This link to the NYTimes gives a full obituary and biography for those interested.

You can find his poem here, in the Off The Shelf archives.


As always, here is a last look at the previous Off the Shelf selection, some songs from The Tempest, by William Shakespeare:

Some Songs
from The Tempest, by William Shakespeare

Our Revels Now Are Ended 
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
( ~Prospero)

Ariel's Songs

Come unto these yellow sands,
   And then take hands:
Curtsied when you have, and kissed
   The wild waves whist,
Foot it featly here and there;
And, sweet sprites, the burden bear.
   Hark, hark!
      Bow, wow
   The watch-dogs bark,
      Bow, wow,
   Hark, hark! I hear
The strain of strutting Chanticleer
Cry, Cock-a-diddle-dow.

Full fathom five thy father lies;
   Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
   Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange:
Sea nymphs hourly ring his knell.
   Hark! now I hear them,
                    Ding-dong, bell!

Where the bee sucks, there suck I,
In a cowslip's bell I lie,
There I couch when owls do cry,
On the bat's back I do fly
After summer merrily
Merrily, merrily, shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.

Image: Miranda, by John William Waterhouse
Public Domain, via


  1. so, being a late bloomer to poetry...really only started reading it several months after i was writing it...i only recently found seamus, within the last year or so, really...def sad to see a voice silenced but we do still have his words in which he lives on...

    happy saturday joy

  2. Bosco likes this piece. I bet you can guess why!

  3. Mr. Heaney is a great loss, but yes, it is wonderful to have his words. Thanks for the songs--my fave of "Willie's" plays...

  4. Since Bosco recommends Ariel's Song, I guess I'll have to share it with Big Snoop!

  5. Ireland has given such great gifts to the literary world.

    It's worth sitting through all of the exposition Shakespeare throws at us in The Tempest just to get at Prospero's valedictory speech. The first time I saw the play, I went home and memorized those words. It's also a great commentary on theater. He's proven to be a competent commentator on just about everything that can occur in this world. Great post, Joy.

  6. I'm reading The Tempest to my grade 10 class at present. My favourite song of Ariel's is "Full fathom five.." but the magic is abundant in all of them.

  7. The body rots, The word lives on...R.I.P.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats