Long-forgotten Seamus Heaney Christmas poem discovered

The discovery of a long-forgotten poem by the Nobel Laureate has been described by his family as ‘a rare find’

The unpublished 13 stanza poem, ‘A Christmas Rhyme’, was written as a Christmas greeting to his sister, Sheena and her husband Tony McCormick, and vividly describes ‘going the rounds’ of family and friends at Christmas time, beginning with the family farm at Mossbawn, on through to Cookstown and Magherafelt and finishing in Bellaghy.

The poem is now on temporary loan to Seamus Heaney HomePlace which celebrates the poet’s life and literature in Bellaghy and is the centrepiece of a specially curated exhibition of Seamus Heaney’s Christmas cards.

Longing For Snow’ brings together a collection of the limited edition Christmas cards which Seamus Heaney had privately printed over many years to send to family and friends, each of which is uniquely designed and includes a poem, line of text from a new poem or piece of writing he was working on at the time.

Brian McCormick, Manager of Seamus Heaney HomePlace, explained how the poem had been re-discovered:

'Seamus Heaney created bespoke Christmas cards every year, with different images, greetings or lines of poetry, often with a particular resonance at that time, and so we were curating a collection as a seasonal addition to the exhibition to give visitors further insight into his life and inspiration.

'Family and friends very kindly agreed to loan us some of the cards they had received and in the search to find them, ‘A Christmas Rhyme’ emerged from a box where it had lain for years among other bits and pieces of letters, papers and mementos.

'We couldn’t have asked for a better gift as we get ready to celebrate our second Christmas and we’re looking forward to sharing it with our visitors to the exhibition over the holiday period'.

The long-forgotten poem and ‘Longing For Snow’, the exhibition of Christmas cards will be on show at Seamus Heaney HomePlace from Monday 18 December to Sunday 7 January.

For more information and to book, visit www.seamusheaneyhome.com or call 028 7938 7444.