Seamus Heaney (Death)
In fact, today, at my Facebook account, a friend of mine and colleague, Kakar Shahzeb, shared with me a post that spoke of “Death of a Naturalist”. With the first look, I travelled to 1960 Faber and Faber’s first edition of the book by Seamus Heaney. A few seconds later I very sadly learnt about the death news of this great Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, on 30th of August, 2013, almost two days from now. Firstly, with this saddening news I retired to my study for quite a while; then this pushed me to cyberspace search as to his demise, and the stuff written or spoken on/about him world around. But nothing soothed me.
Some moments cannot be described in their entirety. Some even cannot be described at all. Feelings for a person we meet differ from feelings for a person we don’t meet. Agreed? Not agreed? This can be discussed well if Julie Joy Clarke (a very good writer) plunges into this discourse. I shall invite her shortly. Hope that she agrees to this. One can safely read Clarke’s piece of writing on Samuel Beckett that she shared with me a few weeks ago: http://juliejoyclarke.blogspot.com.au/2010/01/anothervoice-homage-to-beckett-2006.html. She had written this piece as a homage to Beckett. I had written a piece of writing on Samuel Beckett too, and that too was based on imaginative stuff with abstract and symbolic manifestation.
In case of Seamus Heaney, the same happened to me. In 2008, I came across this giant of a poet in a gathering, where I exchanged a few words with him, so did he in a fairly smooth fashion. Thereafter, I wanted to meet this Nobel Laureate, and tried to search out where he lived; of course, he could not be left untouched had I visited Ireland from the south of England–Guildford at Surrey. But this did not materialize. Several reasons can be discussed. Nonetheless, all will be a futility now because for that part of the time, he kept flying from one situation to another and I couldn’t get to that. It isn’t important now. The most important thing is: we’ve lost a great, great soul that connected us to times we have been living for ages without a genuine realization of the same. Nonetheless, we are lucky that his work survives him. We aren’t unfriended from his list as yet. His greatness as a Nobel Laureate doesn’t inspire me much. His greatness that is pasted on the face of time through his verse is what inspires me the most. I adore the way he looks at poetry. I quote him verbatim: “Poetry can make an order as true to the impact of external reality and as sensitive to the inner laws of the poet’s being as the ripples that rippled in and rippled out across the water in that scullery bucket fifty years ago. An order where we can at last grow up to that which we stored up as we grew. An order which satisfies all that is appetitive in the intelligence and prehensile in the affections. I credit poetry, in other words, both for being itself and for being a help, for making possible a fluid and restorative relationship between the mind’s centre and its circumference. . . . I credit it because credit is due to it, in our time and in all time, for its truth to life, in every sense of that phrase.”
I really miss him today as I usually miss my dear lady, Anna Mendelssohn (1948-2009), a great poet, fabulous human and powerful soul. In Heaney’s case, I was unlucky to have missed the opportunity of getting few words from him for my poetry book, but I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to meet Anna almost for that very purpose two years before her demise. I had fairly humbly requested her to read the draft of my poetry book Silence of the Piano Sings, which she very royally took from me. She spent whole-heartedly on the draft, she wrote to me a few lines, which are printed on the back cover of my book, and that I still remember as a gift: “A colourfully spun web, almost invisible, has been dropped onto the landscape of verse in Silence of the Piano Sings. Let’s welcome Syre’s bold gesture of involvement with the post-modern verse!” I haven’t been able to pay my homage to her through a creative piece of writing, which I shall do in future, because she had had a really fantastic and impressive personality, one cannot forget, and particularly because I had an opportunity to be with her, for a short period though!