So very sad this morning to wake to the news of Seamus Heaney's untimely death. I did not know this great man personally and yet it feels such a personal loss. I was lucky enough to witness Mr. Heaney reading from "Beowulf" at Lincoln Center a few years back: I remember feeling held—suspended, captive, and tight—by his voice and presence that night, as I had for years before, and have for years since, been held—suspended, captive, and tight—by his words. I've always turned to Heaney. When lonesome for home, I can pick up one of my dogeared collections of his work and there, somehow strung together with words, is the music and wisdom, the smell and the sounds, the history and story of home. The night before my own father's funeral a few years ago, it was to Heaney I turned for words, and calm, when I couldn't sleep. I keep him on my bedside table, and committed to heart, so he is always there — and I suppose the beauty of the pen is that he will continue to be there.
This morning I will sit with a cup of tea and pay tribute to a beautiful Irish writer by reading again some of my favorites. Rest in Peace Mr. Heaney.
The Railway Children
When we climbed the slopes of the cutting
We were eye-level with the white cups
Of the telegraph poles and the sizzling wires.
Like lovely freehand they curved for miles
East and miles west beyond us, sagging
Under their burden of swallows.
We were small and thought we knew nothing
Worth knowing. We thought words traveled the wires