Monday, September 02, 2013

Guardian of language

The poet Seamus Heaney is dead. Globally known for the lyrical beauty and ethical depth of his words, the affable Irish hopped gentle into that goodnight, this week. The thing with writers and poets and people of literature is that they effortlessly place their beautiful voices deep inside our heads without our knowledge sometimes, leading us to mistake those thoughts as our own. Such intricately beatific relationships often last till the end of time.

Posterity will remember Seamus and his works. My children and their children and people a hundred years hence will read his poems, which are always full of finds. Seamus’ poems on peat bogs, an emblematic feature of the Irish conflict, shall stay etched on the canvas of time. His writings about the Irish violence included elegies for people who perished in the conflict. As they say art cannot ensconce itself in the attic if your roof is on fire.

However the real beauty of Seamus came out most vividly in his recollection of the Irish landscape and his boyhood days in the countryside full of farms and small towns, where things were old-world, nice and sunny; where Protestants and Catholics got along well before the world turned upside down and bombings began.

Often hailed as the most important Irish poet since Yeats, Seamus remained a country boy at heart, yearning for that pastoral simplicity. The author of such gems like 'Digging,' 'Mid-term Break' he was linguistically dazzling but minus any affectation. At the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm in 1995, Seamus walked gingerly onto the stage and recited this lovely stanza:

The bees build in the crevices
Of loosening masonry, and there
The mother birds bring grubs and flies.
My wall is loosening; honey-bees,
Come build in the empty house of the stare.

I hope there is oodles of honey in the celestial jars of paradise.

Godspeed, Seamus.

Seamus Heaney
April 13, 1939 – August 30, 2013
Poet. Playwright. Nobel laureate