It's Seamus Heaney's birthday today. I once got to share a ham sandwich and a pint with this wonderful poet. He joined a half dozen students (me among them) at the College Inn Pub when he was in Seattle for a reading at the University of Washington. It was quite a long time ago, but wow, I remember everything about it. The man was absolutely beautiful - relaxed, funny, generous-hearted, talented beyond belief - and that shock of white hair! And that Irish lilt! He didn't disappoint, that's for sure.
Here's a poem of his that I love:
And some time make 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.
Useless to think you'll park and capture it
More thoroughly. 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 off guard and blow it open.
- Seamus Heaney
from The Spirit Level
And click here to hear the man himself, reading it.
You'll see what I mean about that Irish lilt.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Heaney!
|...and Seamus Heaney.|
Poetry Friday today is being hosted by Anastasia Suen at her blog, Booktalking. Head over there to see what other people are sharing.