Irish PEN Remembers Poet And Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney 1939-2013

Seamus Heaney 1939-2013

 

In a short tribute on behalf of the Committee of Irish PEN Fr.Tony Gaughan writes:

Members of Irish PEN are saddened by the loss  of Seamus Heaney, a true friend, former member and recipient of the Irish PEN Award in 2005. Irish PEN members were thrilled in 1995 when he was presented with the Nobel Prize for Literature. It is no secret that the Irish PEN Centre had for some time been presenting his  name for that prestigious honour.

Among his many qualities, Irish PEN members will remember his friendliness and unassuming attitude to the many honours showered upon him.

‘Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it. ‘

Seamus Heaney 1939-2013

.The Glamoured

Brightening brightness, alone on the road, she appears,
Crystalline crystal and sparkle of blue in green eyes,
Sweetness of sweetness in her unembittered young voice
And a high colour dawning behind the pearl of her face.

Ringlets and ringlets, a curl in every tress
Of her fair hair trailing and brushing the dew on the grass;
And a gem from her birthplace far in the high universe
Outglittering glass and gracing the groove of her breasts.

News that was secret she whispered to soothe her aloneness,
News of one due to return and reclaim his true place,
News of the ruin of those who had cast him in darkness,
News that was awesome, too awesome to utter in verse.

My head got lighter and lighter but still I approached her,
Enthralled by her thraldom, helplessly held and bewildered,
Choking and calling Christ’s name: then she fled in a shimmer
To Luachra Fort where only the glamoured can enter.

I hurtled and hurled myself madly following after
Over keshes and marshes and mosses and treacherous moors
And arrived at that stronghold unsure about how I had got there,
That earthwork of earth the orders of magic once reared.

A gang of thick louts were shouting loud insults and jeering
And a curly-haired coven in fits of sniggers and sneers:
Next thing I was taken and cruelly shackled in fetters
As the breasts of the maiden were groped by a thick-witted boor.

I tried then as hard as I could to make her hear truth,
How wrong she was to be linked to that lazarous swine
When the pride of the pure Scottish stock, a prince of the blood,
Was ardent and eager to wed her and make her his bride.

When she heard me, she started to weep, but pride was the cause
Of those tears that came wetting her cheeks and shone in her eyes;
Then she sent me a guard to guide me out of the fortress,
Who’d appeared to me, lone on the road, a brightening brightness.

Calamity, shock, collapse, heartbreak and grief
To think of her sweetness, her beauty, her mildness, her life
Defiled at the hands of a hornmaster sprung from riff-raff,
And no hope of redress till the lions ride back on the wave.

.
Aodhgan O’Rathaille, translated by Seamus Heaney

Published by Index On Censorship 30/08/2013:  Index on censorship 30/08/2013

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