Saturday, 31 August 2013

Seamus Heaney (13/4/39 -30/8/13 ) R.I.P - Postscript

Sad to hear that poet and nobel laureate  has died in hospital in Dublin, yesterday morning, after a short illness, aged 74, following a stroke that he had in 2006.
From his first major collection 'Death of a Naturalist (1966)  he was to become a colussus in the poetry world.Born on a farm near Toomebridge, in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, he was a magnificent communicator of global significance. His early works examined the implication of having been born into a society deeply divided along religious and political lines. This gave him a deep preoccupation with the question of poetry's responsibility and pregoratives in the world, and is now considered to be one of the most important poets of the modern age. His works were often meditations on the intersection of personal choice and loss with the larger forces of history and politics.Virtuosity  and truth, the one useless without the other, are also hallmarks of his poetry. He also saw the role of the artist to give voice to those who are oppressed and the ignored,believing that art was driven by empathy, thus being a great supporter of Amnesty International and the Palestinian people, being the Patron of the Palestine Literature Festival.
 A huge loss to the cultural hub of Ireland and the world. His words inspiring hope in a seemingly hopeless world.
He is survived by his wife Marie and three children.
The following poem , describes a drive along the Clare coast. It is a meditation on the fate of being a poet. He does not park but drives on through the glittering scene, and sees the dazzle of light on the sea, on the other side of the road, the lake. Magnificent stuff! So sad that he has gone, but his words will never fade.


And some time makes the time, to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the Light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Unless to think you'll park and capture it
More thouroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart of guard and blow it open.

Reprinted from:
The Spirit Level (1994)

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