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Q19Peters268hero

Seamus Heaney’s “The Given Note”

A Visual Interpretation

Julian Peters

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On the most westerly blasket, in a dry-stone hut
He got this air out of the night
Strange noises were heard by others who followed, bits of a tune coming in on loud weather
Though nothing like melody. He blamed their fingers and ear as unpracticed, their fiddling easy
for he had gone alone into the island, and brought back the whole thing
The house throbbed like his full violin
So whether he calls it spirit music or not, I don't care. He took it
Out of wind off the mid-atlantic
Still he maintains, from nowhere
It comes off the bow gravely,
Rephrases itself into the air.

“The Given Note” from Seamus Heaney, Door into the Dark (London: Faber & Faber, 1969). Used with permission.

Contributed By Julian Peters self portrait Julian Peters

Julian Peters is an illustrator and comic book artist living in Montreal, Canada, who focuses on adapting classical poems into graphic art. His work has been exhibited internationally and published in several poetry and graphic art collections.

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