I heard of his passing
the day before yesterday.
The man who brought Beowulf to life
and told over hearts ripped and torn in Thebes.
The fellow who told us of Sweeney's flight
and opened a Door into the Dark.
There was honesty and empathy
in the dirt under his fingernails
and deep respect for the toil that put it there.
The pages smelt of turf and the musk of the Moyola.
The fire has gone out of him
but ash and smoke and footprints in the Bann clay remain.
In the ink and paper cottages,
the deftly recorded bogs,
the soul-voice of a man lingers.
I never met him and I know him well,
for having read his words
I have deeper knowledge of all men and women.
He sleeps in the earth,
his eye flashes in the turning of a salmon.
His tears plash on the cliffs of Moher.
His boat glides westward.
Farewell, great bard, adieu.