(This post, which includes a poem ("Postscript") by Seamus Heaney, ran originally on August 2, 2013. Heaney died in Dublin on August 30. Check the New York Review for a series of NYRB pieces on the poet, published over the years. The only time I met Heaney was--lucky for me--in his hometown of Derry, in 1992, when he and Ted Hughes together gave a reading at the medieval guild hall. What a privilege to hear the man in that setting.)
Photo courtesy of Paul Lynch's iPhone, in West Clare. Lynch's debut novel Red Sky In Morning comes out in the US in November.
And speaking of Co. Clare:
And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you'll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.