Seamus Heaney


Griffin Poetry Prize 2011
International Shortlist

Book: Human Chain

Poet: Seamus Heaney

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Click here to read and listen to an excerpt.

Robin Robertson reads A Kite for Aibhín, by Seamus Heaney

A Kite for Aibhín, by Seamus Heaney

A Kite for Aibhín


Air from another life and time and place,
Pale blue heavenly air is supporting
A white wing beating high against the breeze,

And yes, it is a kite! As when one afternoon
All of us trooped out
Among the briar hedges and stripped thorn,

I take my stand again, halt opposite
Anahorish Hill to scan the blue,
Back in that field to launch our long-tailed comet.

And now it hovers, tugs, veers, dives askew,
Lifts itself, goes with the wind until
It rises to loud cheers from us below.

Rises, and my hand is like a spindle
Unspooling, the kite a thin-stemmed flower
Climbing and carrying, carrying farther, higher

The longing in the breast and planted feet
And gazing face and heart of the kite flier
Until string breaks and – separate, elate –

The kite takes off, itself alone, a windfall.

From Human Chain, by Seamus Heaney
Copyright © 2010 by Seamus Heaney

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