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Death of a Painter

A poem by Seamus Heaney.

In Memory of Nancy Wynne Jones

Not a tent of blue but a peek of gold
From her coign of vantage in the studio,
A Wicklow cornfield in the gable window.

Long gazing at the hill–but not Cézanne,
More Thomas Hardy working to the end
In his crocheted old heirloom of a shawl.

And now not Hardy but a butterfly,
One of the multitude he imagined airborne
Through Casterbridge, down the summer thoroughfare.

And now not a butterfly but Jonah entering
The whale’s mouth, as the Old English says,
Like a mote through a minster door.

Seamus Heaney is a 1995 Nobel Laureate in Literature and the author of, most recently, Spelling it Out.