Sad to learn of the death of Seamus Heaney, Nobel Literature lureate from 1995 and surely one of THE great poets.
We have all read his books and he was THE LAUREATE of at least one Norn Iron tribe. …the South Derry farming community where he was born. By extension he spoke to other tribes of nationalist farmers in West Tyrone and South Armagh and by extension the urban nationalist in Derry where he was educated at St Columbs College (NOT Christian Brothers that I …for some daft reason said originally…thanx Ronan)
And by extension he spoke to urban republicans at The Pondersosa (St Josephs) in Belfast where he taught.
And he spoke to the young educated “Catholic” class at Queens University where he later taught.
The Malone Road Artsy Crowd will try and claim him as one of their own.
So will Oxford University.
But lets get this clear. He was of US. He spoke literally and figuratively for the Croppies.
He spoke for those of us who have ever seen a child in a coffin.
He spoke for every young Catholic boy going thru (British) scholarship education, who brought his father his lunch. a father doing back-breaking work.
And most of all he spoke for us…those of us in Norn Iron who assert our Irishness…when he declined to appear in an anthology of “British” poets.
“Be advised.My passports Green
no Glass of ours was raised
To toast the Queen”
He got that right. Over on Slugger O’Toole…Mick might don his culture clothes, Dimpleby the Oxbridge-BBC clothes and Sheldon might even don his South Derry clothes ( not that he has ever done that before) and we will have maybe three or more obituaries ( more than James Kelly got) and there will be a tug of love for Seamus Heaney that will claim him as belonging to us all….like a poetic Rory McIlroy. But that is the usual letsgetalongerist bollox.
He was an Irish poet. There will be no reading of his works at the Twaddell Avenue Civil Rights Camp. But no doubt Peter Robinson will feel obliged to say “something”.
Yet for me…Seamus Heaney spoke for every man who ever watched his wife, the Mother of the Groom (yes Mrs FitzjamesHorse I am talking about YOU) at a Wedding.
Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.
He was not educated by the Christian Brothers. His secondary education was in St Columb’s College, Derry – the same grammar school as John Hume.
I was last speaking to Seamus Heaney in the spring of 1965 – in the foyer of the college in Belfast. He was the lecturer in English. I was a student. Another student and myself spent more than an hour trying to convince Seamus Heaney that all poetry is rubbish. Sometime after that Heaney starting having his poems published so we seem to have failed to convince him.
I cant believe I wrote that. I will amend it when I get home.
Hard to believe most of what you write FJH… 😉
It might be hard to believe “most” of what I write. Have you considered that its hard to believe ANYTHING you write?
Im only slegging…..seriously have you noticed that Facebook does not seem to list the number of “friends” on our FB pages?
Or maybe its just an ipad thing?
Anyway thats the obsession that I have this morning.