Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Seamus Heaney - A poets view!

Recently whilst doing a little research into Lambeg Drums, I came across this poem written by Mr. Seamus Heaney - Ireland's most famous poet.

I posted this poem on a Facebook forum that I am a member of and got quite a number of responses, many of them very critical of Mr. Heaney.

In my opinion Mr. Heaney is misguided, prejudiced and ill-informed, perhaps he should have tried a little to understand the music and the tradition of the fife & lambeg drum / lambeg drumming tradition a little more before penning this tripe!!

Here is the poem written, it is alleged in 1966 - prior to 'The Troubles'

The lambeg balloons at this belly, weighs
His back on his haunches, lodging thunder
Grossly there between his chin and his knees:
He is raised up by what he buckles under.

Each arm extended by a seasoned rod,
He parades behind it. And though the drummers
Are granted passage through the nodding crowd
It is the drums preside like giant tumers.

Training the note of hate on the ear's greed,
His battered signature subscribes 'No Pope'.
The pigskin's scourged until his knuckles bleed.
The air is pounding like a stethoscope.

Mr. Heaney should buy they read a copy of Rev. Gary Hastings excellent book With Fife & Drum music, memories and customs of an Irish tradition then try to understand why we - from the fife and lambeg drum musical tradition, play our instruments!



  1. When I was in 4th year we had to write an essay on Heaney's collection of poems ' Death of a Naturalist' One of my classmates handed in his essay and within minutes the teacher was in stitches of laughter. My classmate had entitled his essay ' Death of a Nationalist' . However after reading the last verse of the above poem I'm thinking maybe thon young scholar has had the last laugh.

  2. Nobel-Prize winner Seamus Heaney is tripe? Raaaaight
    Might it be possible that you yourself are misguided, prejudiced, and ill-informed?
    Shame you do not appreciate the poem.