And it’s no accident that this selection of the best poems from three decades begins with the word “between,” for Heaney was a poet of the in-between (as his friend Helen Vendler has observed), writing from a zone somewhere between north and south, between Catholic and Protestant, between Ireland, England, and America, between formal and free verse, between public and private, between realism and allegory, and between plain speech and loading “every rift with oar,” while also balancing the gravitas of his subject matter with the frolic and grace of poetic language. As Heaney said, “The point is to fly under or out and beyond those radar systems.” SEAMUS HEANEY: A POET OF IN-BETWEEN POSTED BY HENRI COLE (The New Yorker)
It’s everywhere. People in my stream have been posting about the passing away of the late great Seamus Heaney. His story is everywhere: The Guardian, NY Times etc. It’s like a big hole has been punched into our collective consciousness. What is death? Why such disbelief? Perhaps we always think that great minds would never die. We feel the same way to those we love: our parents and close friends. Something in us finds it hard to let go, as such soul has already nourished the umbilical cords of our creativity, our joys, our very lives. It is a symbiotic relationship that feeds poets, musicians, painters- to create. Where do we go without the beacon of light?
I don’t claim expertise to his works as I only stumbled upon his works in the course of my music blogging. I don’t think that those in love with Irish music could divorce themselves from the culture and history ; the things that feed Irishness. So yes today I am one of those rediscovering the works of this great mind. He is gone but the memory will always remain stronger with years. For those of us who feel that being alive is a burden to carry, we find comfort in the poems of this poet. It’s like his words form this umbrella to protect us from the harsh glare of the sun and the unforgiving storms of reality.
I think being from Northern Ireland made Seamus feel that sense of being in two worlds at the same time. Your reality shapes your soul. I guess that is why we always long to find a soul mate because we have different souls inside.
What is this heart that continues
to break and does its duty of pumping
blood into our bodies?
It is the most abused organ
because it remembers.
Oh yes, it will always remember
the faces of those who left us,
The unrequited love that will haunt us
or the smiles of our departed mothers.
Here is a soul who never held back
down to the last of his life.
His heart was big
and it’s also a heart full of scars.
He was one of us:
those of this world
and yet not at all.
His passing will always
be the passing of this great light
the ever consuming beautiful sun
exploding into the great space…gone too soon.