This humble and humbling triologism is from Seamus Heaney’s eloquent commentary on a moving poem by Derek Mahon, ‘A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford’, which invites us not to forget those lost to history (‘We too had our lives to live’). 

But what gives the poem its sorrow and insight is the long perspective, an intimacy with the clay-floored foetor of the shed kept in mind and in focus from a point of detached compassion, in another world of freedom, light and efficiency. 

The poem by Mahon is available on the Poetry Foundation’s website, here. 

Source: Seamus Heaney, Finders Keepers: Selected prose 1971-2001 (London: Faber and Faber, 2003), p. 120

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