Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 March 2021
When Seamus Heaney passed away in 2013, there was a remarkable public mourning in Ireland, which merged into a series of reflections on what had been lost. Shortly after, a national poll voted 'Clearances 3' from The Haw Lantern ('When the others were away at Mass') as Ireland’s favourite poem of all time. This chapter looks at some of the ways in which the mourning for Seamus Heaney as a person built upon a series of reflections on loss that had been developing in his poetry since the time of The Haw Lantern. Drawing on manuscript sources, the chapter concludes by focusing on the images of homelessness in Heaney’s poetry that form a counterpoint to the more obvious images of the 'den life' of his childhood home, suggesting that it is possible to see much of his later work as a sustained meditation on homelessness as a condition of being.