I couldn’t find an appropriate photo for this post. I looked and looked, but the post is ready and none of the images fit. Just a black and white head shot and a strange sadness one feels when they don’t know the deceased, but feel like they did. Whatever that is…but that’s what I feel.
From “Blackberry Picking” by Seamus Heaney:
“I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.”
There is something remarkable about a poet. I mean a real poet, not an emo teenager. (I’m allowed to say that because I fully considered myself an emo teenager. True emos are probably aghast by this.)
Seamus Heaney was a real poet and, most importantly, one within my lifetime. There was something reassuring about him being alive and kicking. His poetry reminded me of style that was much older. That he saw this world and he was out there…somewhere in Ireland he was looking at the things I knew with his poetic eyes, and the world would be beautiful. Painful, terrifying, full of regret, maybe, but also beautiful.
It had to be.
Because such is the way with poets.
The world is not fleeting. A moment can have meaning. A moment is allowed to have meaning. A breath becomes life. A whisper becomes a deed. A yell pierces the soul.
Within the width of less than a finger great things are done.
One can consider ALL the layers of meaning with a novelty and a nostalgia for what this piece meant then. And even then maybe the first glance, the second glance, that last time before the exam, didn’t reveal all.
A duality exists between reader and writer. The exchange can go on for all eternity. Poetry grows around the bud of the words, the image, the evocations of an idea and cements itself into time and place through a memory, a place, an entirely new intellectual, emotional, spiritual plane.
It wasn’t verse vomit.
Rather, a structured, precise, deliberate elucidation. Taking one by the hand and taking us deeper into this space.
What a gift we had.
Even though I didn’t you, Mr. Heaney, I just wanted to say goodbye. You were a poet of modernity, but your poems had the gravitas of a bygone age.
RIP Mister Seamus Heaney, a poet