Seamus Heaney - Valedictory Verses

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Seamus Heaney reads his poem Valedictory Verses at the INTO Education Conference 2011.

Valedictory Verses
by Seamus Heaney (1939-)

Composed for the Carysfort Graduation Exercises, 1988

A tuning fork. An era quavers, passes.
Coloured wall-maps fade. And myths of Greece.
Gone with the solfa and the singing classes.

Roll-books. Ink-wells. Motes in sunlight. Stasis.
Aesop. Andersen. The Golden Fleece.
A tuning fork. An era quavers, passes.

Transcription's gone. And Solemn Latin Masses.
The lace of albs, the wimpl's perfect crease -
Gone with the solfa and the singing classes.

Nature study. Names of soils and grasses.
Names of county towns. Their singsongs cease.
And tuning forks. That era quavers, passes.

O Ireland of crossroads and comely lasses!
Visionary, historical decease!
Gone with the solfa and the singing classes.

On a high shelf, catkins moult in vases.
The school clock's stopped all summer. In that peace,
A tuning fork! Another era passes
Beyond the solfa and the singing classes.

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