HEANEY (SEAMUS, b. 1939, Irish poet)
Lot 208
HEANEY (SEAMUS, b. 1939, Irish poet) AUTOGRAPH DRAFTS OF HIS POEM 'SONG' FROM 'FIELD WORK', 1978
Sold for £4,375 (US$ 7,346) inc. premium
Lot Details
HEANEY (SEAMUS, b. 1939, Irish poet)
AUTOGRAPH DRAFTS OF HIS POEM 'SONG' FROM 'FIELD WORK', untitled herein, some 29 lines, with autograph revisions and deletions preserving reconsidered readings, 1 page, folio, dated 10 April 1978

[Manuscript:]
birch trees stand off among the rushes
Between the bye-road and the motorway.
birch trees, at a wet and sunlit distance
stand off among the rushes...

A girl in a cloche hat
at eight o'clock on a Monday morning...

[Printed:]

A rowan like a lipsticked girl.
Between the by-road and the main road
Alder trees at a wet and dripping distance
Stand off among the rushes...

With the poem is an autograph letter signed ('Seamus') to Roy Davids, dated 2 February 1981: 'I enclose a page for your MS. book - I think it must be the first shot at a poem that became "Song" (Field Work p. 56) although I remember other shakey attempts that I cannot lay my hand on just now. The real inspiration is a little clump of birch-trees standing down a field just of [sic] the M1 motorway in Ulster, in Co. Tyrone, near a place called King's Island. Useless information.'

The printed version consists of eight lines. Much of the final version is in the drafts in this manuscript. Also see lot 331.

PROVENANCE: Seamus Heaney.
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