Among School Children

by t t

Royal Irish Academy of Music, 2005

(in memory of Seamus Heaney)

It’s been ten years since your Nobel calling,
with all the fuss attendant on such fame,
yet here you are fulfilling yet another claim
on your energies, this time enthralling

a room of students with your learnt-by-heart
rendition of Keats’s autumn ode. You stumble
here and there, but readers of the text mumble
their discreet prompts, as if aware they’re a part

of a special moment. An hour later you’re still here,
in a swarm of children and giving them all their due,
as if somehow this evening meant as much to you
as it will to them looked back on from another year.

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