April is National Poetry Month – Had I not Been Awake by Seamus Heaney

There are  a few poets that have influenced my writing : Baudelaire, TS Eliot, Borges and of course  Seamus Heaney. He is giant looming figure in poetry and in the past two years I have sat with his works. I have enjoyed his poems as much as I’ve learned from them.  Anyways here is a poem

‘Had I Not Been Awake’

Listen to it being read by Heaney http://dai.ly/xprnnq

Had I not been awake I would have missed it,
A wind that rose and whirled until the roof
Pattered with quick leaves off the sycamore

And got me up, the whole of me a-patter,
Alive and ticking like an electric fence:
Had I not been awake I would have missed it

It came and went too unexpectedly
And almost it seemed dangerously,
Hurtling like an animal at the house,

A courier blast that there and then
Lapsed ordinary. But not ever
Afterwards. And not now.

What do you like about it?

I enjoy the metrical quality of the verse, despite the lack of a formal rhyme scheme. I like how the use of alliteration and repetition. They help created that sense of rhythm in the piece. The allegory of the wind really is subtle. The variety of line lengths stick out to me. The first line is an alexandrine . This is notable because unlike the pentameter which sounds and feels like everyday speaking  hexameter projects the sense and feel of story telling. I like the use of enjambment especially with each word of the stanza being capitalized. Its create a unique effect.

Anyways I could go on, there is a lot technically I feel happening but most importantly it’s enjoyable to read and nice to listen to. What do you like about it ?



      • I’m back from Greece now. I’m not really a poet fanatic…I more or less enjoy the poem itself rather than the poet. When I’m in a poetic mood, I go for anthology rather than a book by the same author. How are you?


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