N°. 025


Getting started, keeping going,
getting started again—in art and in life,
it seems to me this is the essential rhythm.

— Seamus Heaney


Definition: /Noun/ & /Adjective/

 Latin rhythmus or French rhythme from Greek rhuthmos
related to rhein meaning to flow.

 the measured flow or words or phrases in verse, forming patterns of sound.

2) regularity in the repetition in time or space of an action, process, feature, opposing or different conditions, events, etc.

3) the systematic grouping of musical sounds, with attention to duration and periodical stress.

4) the harmonious sequence or correlation of colors, elements or masses.

Extra Elements of Interest ::

This line is from a commencement speech Seamus Heaney delivered at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, on May 12, 1996

The full quote is ::

Getting started, keeping going, getting started again — in art and in life, it seems to me this is the essential rhythm not only of achievement but of survival, the ground of convinced action, the basis of self-esteem and the guarantee of credibility in your lives, credibility to yourselves as well as to others. So this rhythm is what I would like to talk about briefly this morning, because it is something I would want each one of you to experience in the years ahead, and experience not only in your professional life, whatever that may be, but in your emotional and spiritual lives as well — because unless that underground level of the self is preserved as a verified and verifying element in your make-up, you are going to be in danger of settling into whatever profile the world prepares for you and accepting whatever profile the world provides for you. You’ll be in danger of molding yourselves in accordance with laws of growth other than those of your own intuitive being.


How wonderful for a poet to speak of the rhythms of life when poems embody life’s rhythms.

Seamus Heaney lived from 1939 to 2013 and is an Irish poet.  He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.

I adore his work so much I can hardly be sensible in my praise.  I recommend four links for further reading.

  • The Poetry Foundation on Heaney.
  • The American Academy on Poets on Heaney.
  • The Telegraph of Great Britain assembles their 10 most favorite Heaney poems.
  • The Cure of Troy, which tells the story of how Odysseus tricked Achilles’ son into joining the Greek forces at Troy towards the end of the Trojan War, is a particular favorite of former VP Joe Biden (and me too) and you can read an excerpt here.  “Human beings suffer, They torture one another, They get hurt and get hard.” He goes on to say how hope and history rhymes.  


< back to all Revitagrams