'Don't be afraid': Final words from Seamus Heaney - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

'Don't be afraid': Final words from Seamus Heaney

Posted: Updated:
Seamus Heaney  Photo Source: Today.com Seamus Heaney Photo Source: Today.com

By SHAWN POGATCHNIK
Associated Press

DUBLIN (AP) - Ireland mourned the loss of its Nobel laureate poet, Seamus Heaney, with equal measures of poetry and pain Monday in a funeral full of grace notes and a final message from the great man himself: Don't be afraid.

Among those packing the pews of Dublin's Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart were government leaders from both parts of Ireland, poets and novelists, Bono and The Edge from rock band U2, and former Lebanese hostage Brian Keenan.

Ireland's foremost uilleann piper, Liam O'Flynn, played a wailing lament before family members and friends offered a string of readings from the Bible and their own often-lyrical remembrances of the country's most celebrated writer of the late 20th century. The 90-minute service ended with a cellist's rendition of the childhood bedtime classic, "Brahms's Lullaby."

Heaney won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1995 in recognition of his wide-ranging writings inspired by the rural wonders of Ireland, the strife of his native Northern Ireland, the ancient cultures of Europe, of Catholic faith and Celtic mysticism, and the immutability of family ties. He died Friday in a Dublin hospital at the age of 74.

In a tribute delivered from the pulpit, one of Heaney's three children revealed his final words: a text message from his hospital bed to his wife, Marie.

Michael Heaney said the words, "written a few minutes before he passed away, were in his beloved Latin. And they read: 'Noli timere.' Don't be afraid." That revelation opened a ripple of tears in the audience, including from Marie and only daughter Catherine in the front row beside the flower-topped coffin.

His sons, Michael and Christopher, and other relatives carried his coffin from the church. Outside, on a blustery and sunny day, hundreds spontaneously applauded as his casket emerged into the light.

One of the poets who read prayers to the mourners, Theo Dorgan, said many lovers of poetry worldwide had expected Heaney to live much longer, given his strong mind and masculine vigor. He noted that Heaney had resumed worldwide readings and seminars following a 2006 stroke.

"A great oak has fallen. A lot of people sheltered in the amplitude of the leaf and light and shade of the oak that was Seamus. He expanded our idea of what poetry is and can be," Dorgan said in an interview.

Heaney's funeral cortege faced a several-hour drive north from Dublin to his family home in Bellaghy, a Northern Ireland village that was the fountainhead for much of his work. He was to be buried in the family plot in Bellaghy's cemetery.

Thousands queued to sign books of condolence opened Monday in Dublin, Belfast and the Northern Ireland city of Londonderry, where Heaney attended Catholic boarding school in the 1950s. On Sunday, a crowd of 80,000 observed a minute's silence and applauded the memory of Heaney at a Gaelic football match between Dublin and Kerry.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Vernon Parish Police Reports

    Vernon Parish Police Reports

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:38 AM EDT2014-04-22 15:38:16 GMT
    Sheriff Sam Craft of the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office announces recent arrests as follows:More >>
    Sheriff Sam Craft of the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office announces recent arrests as follows:More >>
  • Teen driver arrested for vehicular homicide

    Teen driver arrested for vehicular homicide

    Monday, April 21 2014 11:41 PM EDT2014-04-22 03:41:45 GMT
    RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - On Monday, a single vehicle crash killed a woman from Holden, La. and injured a teenager.  The teenager driver is suspected of driving impaired and has been charged and booked, according to Louisiana State Police. More >>
    RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - On Monday, a single vehicle crash killed a woman from Holden, La. and injured a teenager.  The teenager driver is suspected of driving impaired and has been charged and booked, according to Louisiana State Police. More >>
  • Texas teen killed in freak SUV accident

    Texas teen killed in freak SUV accident

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:49 AM EDT2014-04-22 15:49:41 GMT
    ARLINGTON, Texas (CBS News) - A family is searching for answers after a teenage girl was killed after falling from a moving vehicle, CBS Dallas reported Monday.The incident occurred early Saturday after a group of friends had left a Dallas nightclub. Police said that 17-year-old Lelys Leyva-Monreal fell from the window of a moving SUV and was then struck by that vehicle.Friends and family members said that the group of friends -- including Leyva-Monreal and her boyfriend -- were driving home ...More >>
    ARLINGTON, Texas (CBS News) - A family is searching for answers after a teenage girl was killed after falling from a moving vehicle, CBS Dallas reported Monday.The incident occurred early Saturday after a group of friends had left a Dallas nightclub. Police said that 17-year-old Lelys Leyva-Monreal fell from the window of a moving SUV and was then struck by that vehicle.Friends and family members said that the group of friends -- including Leyva-Monreal and her boyfriend -- were driving home ...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KALB. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.