I'm honoured to be reading at the London Irish Centre's Tribute to Seamus Heaney tomorrow evening.
I'm thinking of reading “Ballynahinch Lake” and “Postscript”, two poems that I think of as companion pieces and the two that, for me, best capture Seamus's mud-and-lotus attitude to the delights and sufferings of life. “Postscript” was the one I turned to when I heard he'd left us.
Or I may go for “St Kevin and The Blackbird” and the line that inspired my novel, Blue Mercy: “the whole thing’s imagined anyhow.”
The “whole thing” in this case being the legend, yes, but also life itself.
Here's a video of the man himself reading that poem where he talks about doing the right thing for the reward of doing the right thing, of “faith and self-belief and chosen values, opted for and stood by”, of the labour of love and the love of labour for itself.
In short, of the highest creative principles.
I'm delighted to have this opportunity to join the London-Irish community in celebrating the life and work of such a truly great writer and creative exemplar.
The event takes place at the London Irish Centre, 50-52 Camden Square, London, NW1 9XB, from 7pm, Tues 15th. You can book your free ticket here.
If you're in London, do come along. It will be a special night of Irish music and poetry. And if you do attend, make sure to come up and say Hello.