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Gary Lightbody & Paul Simon pay tribute to Seamus Heaney

The President Michael D. Higgins will lead the mourners this morning at the funeral mass of Seamus Heaney in Donnybrook. Tributes have continued to flood in to the Nobel Award-winning poet who died on Friday aged 74.

The Hot Press Newsdesk, 02 Sep 2013

They include a gorgeous essay by Paul Simon.

“Popular culture likes to house songwriters and poets under the same roof, but we are not the close family that some imagine,” Simon reflects in it. “Poets are distant cousins at most, and labour under a distinctly different set of rules. Songwriters have melody, instrumentation and rhythm to colour their work and give it power; poets accomplish it all with words.

“Seamus, though, was one of those rare poets whose writing evokes music: the fiddles, pipes and penny-whistles of his Northern Irish culture and upbringing.”

To illustrate his point, the singer goes on to quote from Heaney’s ‘Casting and Gathering’.

Also paying handsome tribute to the poet is Gary Lightbody who notes, “Seamus Heaney made me want to be a writer. I wrote poetry every day and was published at 15, many times. All of it terrible and I have to read it now, if I ever do, from behind splayed fingers but it started me on the path that would take me to here, sitting in California writing Snow Patrol’s seventh album after a 20 year career that has taken me around the world many times and shown me things I never dreamed of.

“People of profound light, love and kindness that simply and maybe even without their knowledge make us and the world around them better. Stephen Fry is one. Guy Garvey another. To see them on the stage, screen or on the page makes us feel safer, happier, stronger, more centred and less confused by life and what the hell we’re doing here. I would make Heaney chieftain of that ‘invisible tribe’.”

Read the whole of Gary’s In Memoriam at

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