I love poets. If there is a poet I do not like, I have not yet met them or read their words. Maybe it is the simple authenticity about their work. That poets are able to tell a story and convey true meaning with few words. Possibly it is because each reader might ascertain a different meaning from reading the same poem as another reader might. There is little judgement in poetry. I envy that about a poet’s world.
Sadly, Seamus Heaney died. He was an Irish poet. A poet, “acclaimed by many as the best Irish poet since Yeats,” according to the BBC. In the course of his career, Seamus Heaney has always contributed to the promotion of artistic and educational causes, both in Ireland and abroad. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”.
In an NPR article I recently read, Mr. Seamus said of his own work,
“I have always thought of poems as stepping stones in one’s own sense of oneself. Every now and again, you write a poem that gives you self-respect and steadies your going a little bit farther out in the stream. At the same time, you have to conjure the next stepping stone because the stream, we hope, keeps flowing.”
At Mr. Heaney’s funeral, his son spoke of his father:
“In his last few words, in a text message he wrote to my mother minutes before he passed away, were in his beloved Latin, and they read: ‘Noli timere’, don’t be afraid.”
Simple, yet authentic, and brave words. Just like a poet.