Happy reading I have to admit, even as I hate doing it, that the only Heaney I have read prior picking up this book is his translation of Beowulf To say that the poems in this collection are good would be correct They are bag of Irish life, ancient myth, and family life It is the Irish ones and Mycenae Lookout that tend to be the most powerful The power of Mycenae Lookout is obvious It is about Troy, told from various views, including a solider waiting for the return of his king and fellow soldiers even as he knows that the king s welcome isn t assured at all Two Lorries is about, well, two lorries, one whom was in fact It is a powerful comment on the Troubles and the fight for Irish independence It is the type of poem you read and cannot forget Reading this small volume you realize how great Heaney was.
Crossposted at Booklikes 2.
5 starsI ve tried Heaney s poetry a few times and it s just not for me I get the feeling that he s just trying too hard yes, I know that he won the Nobel Literature Prize I did enjoy his simpler poems notably Poplars in this volume but I find the rest hopelessly cluttered with too many metaphors and subjects.
I read this because Heaney had won the Nobel Prize OK, time for a confession I am not a voracious reader of poetry, but I enjoy it, and yet, because it deals largely with moments and its magic is spun out in phrases and clauses, it simply doesn t stay with me the way prose does I know this was good, and was certainly enough to pull me through, which is not necessarily easy with poetry But the adhesion of the content Not much.
This collection of poems from 1996 was the first to be published after he won the Nobel Prize in 1995 and it didn t diminish his reputation at all Highlights include The Rain Stick , Keeping Going , Mycenae Lookout and Postscript Good enough to catch the heart off guard and blow it open.
Here are some examples of Heaney s use of language From The Rain Stick In a cactus stalkDownpour, sluice rush, spillage and backwashCome flowing through The entirety of A Call Hold on, she said, I ll just run out and get him.
The weather here s so good, he took the chanceTo do a bit of weeding So I saw himDown on his hands and knees beside the leek rig,Touching, inspecting, separating oneStalk from the other, gently pulling upEverything not tapered, frail and leafless,Pleased to feel each little weed root break,But rueful also Then found myself listening toThe amplified grave ticking of hall clocksWhere the phone lay unattended in a calmOf mirror glass and sunstruck pendulums And found myself then thinking if it were nowadays,This is how Death would summon Everyman.
Next thing he spoke and I nearly said I loved him And the collection s final poem, implicitly a tribute to Yeats, Postscript And some time make the time to drive out westInto County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,In September or October, when the windAnd the light are working off each otherSo that the ocean on one side is wildWith foam and glitter, and inland among stonesThe surface of a slate grey lake is litBy the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,Their fully grown headstrong looking headsTucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you ll park and capture itMore thoroughly You are neither here nor there,A hurry through which known and strange things passAs big soft buffetings come at the car sidewaysAnd catch the heart off guard and blow it open This is a wonderful collection I should also mention that the photo of Heaney on the back cover is magnificent and, in light of our recent loss of his great talent and deep humanity, haunting.
This guy s pretty good I am probably not the first person to note that In this collection he gives us ordinary lives, illuminated and made beautiful.