Poetry Day IrelandTomorrow (Thursday April 27th) is Poetry Day Ireland organised by Poetry Ireland. So expect to see poetry pop up around the country and a programme that includes train poems, pillow poems and even chocolate poems.

The theme for the day is ‘Poetry Connects’ showing the ways poetry connects across the lifespan, time and distance. Poetry taps into our raw emotions in ways few other forms of artistic expression do. Given this, the abundance of poetry addressing grief, loss and death is no surprise.

The poetry of Grief

Irish poets have left an indelible mark on the poetry of loss. Perhaps no one more so than Seamus Heaney; his poem ‘Mid term break‘ with its stark line ‘A four-foot box, a foot for every year‘ strikes right to heart of the loss of a child. In 2015 his poem ‘When All the Others Were Away at Mass‘ which reflects on the memory of his mother, topped the poll as Ireland’s favourite poem of the past 100 years. HERE he reads his poem ‘An appropriate place‘ written about his mother on her death bed and recorded for the Irish Hospice Foundation’s ‘Journeys to the end of life’ video for our Hospice Friendly Hospital programme.

Our memories of Seamus Heaney

We have fond memories here at the Irish Hospice Foundation Seamus Heaney’s involvement with our projects over the years. He shared his insight and wisdom in the introduction to our Whoseday Book in 1999 and even had his hands photographed by Perry Ogden for the cover artwork. You can view all the drafts of his introduction in our digital archive HERE

Seamus Heaney’s hands photograph by Perry Ogden with annotations for Whoseday Book cover   

Seamus Heaney kindly allowed Mid term break to be reproduced and included in our 2006 publication Irish Stories of Loss and Hope offering it as part of this special collection of personal reflections on loss.

Copy of Irish Stories of Loss and Hope signed by Seamus Heaney for the Therese Brady Library at Library Ireland Week March 2010
Copy of Table of contents page of ‘Irish Stories of loss & Hope’ signed by Seamus Heaney on Library Ireland Week March 2010 

Celebrating 30 years …with a poem

Our love of poetry runs so deep that when we celebrated our 30th anniversary last year we marked the occasion with a poem. Poet Paula Meehan wrote ‘The Merciful Hours’ to commemorate our thirty years. You can hear Paula read the poem for Poetry Day Ireland HERE

The Merciful Hours #PoetryDayIRL

Come in and explore poetry in the Therese Brady Library

The Therese Brady Library holds an extensive collection of poetry books and anthologies addressing bereavement, loss and grief. This collection is open to the public so if you would like to borrow just drop in.

Or maybe just take a few minutes out of your day to come in and let some poetry into your life.


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