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
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...
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.