Friday, August 30, 2013

Death of Seamus Heaney

It was with much regret this afternoon that I heard of the death of one of Ireland's greatest poets Seamus Heaney. Of course he did not belong to Ireland, but was part of the broader stream of European poetry over the last 50 years since his seminal first collection "Death of a Naturalist", though many of the motifs he used were taken from his rural childhood.

I had the good fortune to meet him briefly in Prague 3 years ago after a poetry recital at Strahov Monastery (organised by the Irish Embassy here). Considering his immense stature in world literature, he was a very modest, unassuming and down to earth gentleman.  He will surely be missed

Below a few lines from one of my favourite poems from "Death of a Naturalist"

Lovers on Aran
The timeless waves, bright, sifting, broken glass,
Came dazzling around, into the rocks,
Came glinting, sifting from the Americas 

To possess Aran. Or did Aran rush
to throw wide arms of rock around a tide
That yielded with an ebb, with a soft crash?

Did sea define the land or land the sea?
Each drew new meaning from the waves' collision.
Sea broke on land to full identity.