Submissions Reopen August 1st
Poet Laureate Poem Prompt—Fall 2021–Tom Sexton
We hope Tom Sexton’s poem “On the Death of Seamus Heaney” will inspire you, as a reader, to discover a feeling you hadn’t named before or a resonance you hadn’t expected. For the writer/artist, let the poem- as-prompt carry you to some place new in your work.
On the Death of Seamus Heaney
He is crossing those four green fields now.
On the horizon, blossoms falling like snow.
A chorus calls his name. He does not break stride
toward a small house. He can hear his mother’s sigh.
Now he eyes his father holding a tall ladder
and at the top of the ladder stands his brother
skimming the gable, shaping the letters S.H.
in wet plaster. It covers his hands and knees
as blood did on the day he died. They turn
to go inside where his mother is churning butter.
“On the Death of Seamus Heaney” from A Ladder of Cranes by Tom Sexton, copyright© 2015. Reprinted by permission of University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks. All rights reserved.