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Seamus Heaneys last poem published in Irish gallerys anthology

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Collection features works from writers such as Roddy Doyle, Colm Tóibín and John Banville inspired by paintings on display at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin

A poem Seamus Heaney finished 10 days before he died sees the Nobel laureate exploring the quiet beauty of a canal painted by the French artist Gustave Caillebotte, where time is slowed to a walking pace, and world stands still.

Banks of a Canal will be published as part of a collection of essays, stories and poems by Irish writers inspired by paintings from the National Gallery of Ireland to celebrate the gallerys 150th anniversary. The poem is, typically for Heaney, rooted in the landscape. Say canal and theres that final vowel/ Towing silence with it, slowing time/ To a walking pace, a path, a whitewashed gleam/ Of dwellings at the skyline./ World stands still, writes Heaney, who died in August 2013, aged 74. I know that clay, the damp and dirt of it, the author of Digging writes, the grassy zest/ Of verges, the path not narrow but still straight/ Where soul could mind itself or stray beyond.

Say canal and theres that final vowel

Towing silence with it, slowing time

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