You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

letters | seamus heaney, 1939-2013: readers find the words

Hearing the poems in his gentle brogue

Seamus Heaney was the most human of poets (“A life of engagement and wondrous words,” Kevin Cullen, Page A1, Aug. 31). Irresistibly funny, earthy, profound, and profane, he touched every sort of person — police officer, farmer, poet, and spy. Anyone lucky enough to be a friend simply wanted to hang out with him and his wife, Marie, drink with them, and listen to them talk.

His poems on paper are lyrical and touch our most basic sorrows and joys, but spoken aloud by him in his gentle brogue, they transported you like a whirlpool to his special moment and place, in Ireland or any land.

Continue reading below

Boston was a second home for him, and for us he was family. His passing leaves us with what he wrote for his own children — the “strumming, rooted, long-tailed pull of grief.”

Sean and Judy Palfrey


The writers are masters of Adams House at Harvard.

Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of