Painting of Bogland in Ireland
The Bank of Turf, ©John O’Grady, 2013
Oil on panel, 8″x 8″


Ten thousand years of history is held in the bog, layer upon layer of botanical matter that revealed at times well preserved human remains.

The bog  can be seen as a repository of history, but it is also a repository of memory.

Please read Heaney’s poem below. You can also listen to the man himself reading his poem

Bogland By Seamus Heaney for T. P. Flanagan

We have no prairies
To slice a big sun at evening
Everywhere the eye concedes to
Encroaching horizon,

Is wooed into the cyclops’ eye
Of a tarn. Our unfenced country
Is bog that keeps crusting
Between the sights of the sun.

They’ve taken the skeleton
Of the Great Irish Elk
Out of the peat, set it up
An astounding crate full of air.

Butter sunk under
More than a hundred years
Was recovered salty and white.
The ground itself is kind, black butter

Melting and opening underfoot,
Missing its last definition
By millions of years.
They’ll never dig coal here,

Only the waterlogged trunks
Of great firs, soft as pulp.
Our pioneers keep striking
Inwards and downwards,

Every layer they strip
Seems camped on before.
The bogholes might be Atlantic seepage.
The wet centre is bottomless.

Seamus Heaney