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Poems of Bloody Sunday: Thomas Kinsella, Seamus Deane

category derry | arts and media | opinion/analysis author Saturday July 03, 2010 10:17author by John O'Leary in the grave Report this post to the editors

.... and Seamus Heaney's effort

Thomas Kinsella's Butcher's Dozen was written after the publication of the British Government's Widgery Tribunal Report in 1972. Here he is reading the poem and talking about it. The text of the poem is available here:

BUTCHER'S DOZEN:
A LESSON FOR THE OCTAVE OF WIDGERY
by Thomas Kinsella
http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/events/bsunday/kinsella.htm

Also, here is Seamus Deane's poem [click poem to read it or download], taken from his collection, Gradual Wars (IUP, 1972).
Cover of Thomas Kinsella's 1972 Peppercanister Press edition
Cover of Thomas Kinsella's 1972 Peppercanister Press edition

And, to round off, a well-crafted effort by Seamus Heaney, which indicates how Heaney became a favoured poet of the self-satisfied southern middle class, who ran scared from the north in the 1970s. The Heaney poem comes with explanatory context. Deane's poem does not seem to be otherwise available online.

Casualty
by Seamus Heaney
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/learning/poem-guide.htm...82158

And finally, a British Army attempt to render the artistic meaning of events, as they happened:

From a tape recording of snatches of conversation on Army radio during the shooting in Derry.

". . . You're mother's been killed by the Armee-e, Doo da, doo da" (voice singing). Static . . . "Return fire . . . Aim pistol lower regions . . Roger, Wilco. Out." . . . Static . . . (sound of shot) . . "Yoo-hoo! Well done! Keep it up." . . . more static . . . "I said shoot for lower regions . . . the balls" . . . "Over" . . .


http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/events/bsunday/mad.htm

Readers can judge whether Kinsella and Deane or Heaney's contribution will stand the test of time.....

Seamus Deane's poem on Bloody Sunday, After Derry, 30 January 1972
Seamus Deane's poem on Bloody Sunday, After Derry, 30 January 1972

audio Thomas Kinsell reads his Butcher's Dozen poem on Bloody Sunday 3.4 Mb


audio Kinsell talks about his Butcher's Dozen poem - from Bowman Sunday, RTE Radio One, 20 June 2010 1.24 Mb
author by Niall Meehanpublication date Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A video interpretation of Seamus Heaney's poem The Road to Derry. Produced for an interactive tourist guide for Derry City Council

Caption: Video Id: xLMlY56sahI Type: Youtube Video
Heaney


Related Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLMlY56sahI
author by Niall Meehanpublication date Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In its 15 June 2001 edition the Derry Journal published the attached article revealing that Seamus Heaney had written a poem at the request of Luke Kelly of the Dubliners in 1972. Heaney told the Derry Journal this in a letter in 1997.

The poem was written in 1972 on the day of the funerals of the Bloody Sunday victims. Heaney released half the poem in 1997 on the 25th anniversary of the massacres and, perhaps more significantly, three years after the IRA ceasefire. I wonder what is in the other half. Perhaps now, after the Saville Report has been released, Heaney might consider releasing the remainder for posterity.

The pages are from the Derry Journal's special edition on Bloody Sunday - it can be read in full here:
http://issuu.com/derryjournal/docs/savillereport/28?mod...e=a_p

Also attached, a page on Bloody Sunday in popular culture.

Half of Heaney's contemporary poem on Bloody Sunday - released 25 years later - click on the image to read it
Half of Heaney's contemporary poem on Bloody Sunday - released 25 years later - click on the image to read it

Derry Journal's 15 June 2010 page on Bloody Sunday in popular culture - click on the image to read it
Derry Journal's 15 June 2010 page on Bloody Sunday in popular culture - click on the image to read it

Page on which Derry Journal reported Heaney's half poem - click image to read it
Page on which Derry Journal reported Heaney's half poem - click image to read it

Related Link: http://www.derryjournal.com
author by Torrealbapublication date Sat Jul 03, 2010 14:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

During the hunger strikes and the blanket protests, there was criticism of Heaney for not supporting the protesters, some of whom were from his own area. Heaney claims Sinn Fein put pressure on him, which they deny.

In an interview in the book ‘Stepping Stones – Interviews with Seamus Heaney’ by Dennis O’Driscoll, he says that that on the night when Francis Hughes's body was returned from the jail to his family, he was staying in Oxford University in rooms that belonged to a British Cabinet Minister in Margaret Thatcher's government.

In some ways, Heaney has always been an acceptable face of Irish culture for a British audience. His night between the sheets in Keith Joseph's well appointed rooms at Oxford, while Francis Hughes (who he still describes as a "hit man") was lying dead in his parent's front room is, he admits himself, emblematic.

 
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