Friday, 30 August 2013

Seamus Heaney

I have nothing to add to the outpouring of sadness at Seamus Heaney's death. He can speak for himself:

It is always better
to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning.
For every one of us, living in this world
means waiting for our end. Let whoever can
win glory before death. When a warrior is gone,
that will be his best and only bulwark.
(from Heaney's translation of Beowulf)

All I know is a door into the dark.
('The Forge')

Before Heaney, poets came from everywhere. Since Heaney, they've all been Northern Irish, or so it seems. The curious confluence of Irishness and English, of borders, of faiths, of bogs and bombs, of old learning and new institutions, of the slow rhythms and swift history seem to breed them there.

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