“And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.”–Matthew 2:12
Poet Annie Deppe sent this Epiphany Day photo taken from her living room window on the Connemara coast of Western Ireland. (Their Christmas was punctuated by severe storms and hurricane-force winds.) Like her writing (Sitting In The Sky, Wren Cantata), her photo provides a lovely visual reminder that sometimes we are called by dreams to “return home by a different way” (Matthew 2:12).
Poet Annie Deppe (Wren Cantata), who lives in County Galway with her husband poet Ted Deppe, sent this note on the death of Seamus Heaney:
We may be heading to Bellaghy on Monday for his burial. Take a look at the Irish Times. Fintan O’Toole’s article is worth checking out. There is a lot of coverage. The tears continue.
The entire country of Ireland is in mourning. The video clip interviews of ordinary people praising and remembering Seamus Heaney are stunning. Below is an excerpt from Fintan O’Toole’s beautiful essay in The Irish Times. Fintan O’Toole writes:
Like all great poets, Seamus Heaney was an alchemist.
He turned our disgrace into grace, our petty hatreds into epic generosity, our dull clichés into questioning eloquence, the leaden metal of brutal inevitability into the gold of pure possibility.
He lacked the arrogance to tell us who we are – much more importantly, he told us what we are. He reminded us that Ireland is a culture before it is an economy. And in the extraordinary way he bore himself, the dignity and decency and the mellow delight that shone from him, he gave us self-respect.
In The Tempest, Miranda exclaims “O brave new world, / That has such people in it.”
Seamus Heaney made us gasp in wonder that, for all its follies and terrors, Irish culture had such a person in it.
… Our shells clacked on the plates.
My tongue was a filling estuary,
My palate hung with starlight :
As I tasted the salty Pleiades
Orion dipped his foot into the water. …
I’m headed tomorrow for Dublin and then the Dingle Peninsula. I’ve got my copy of the new Sister Fidelma murder mystery, Prayer for the Damned, by Peter Tremayne. I’ve got my Lonely Planet Ireland book. I’ve got my pocket Bible and a paperback of Seamus Heaney’s Station Island.
I’ll be attending a writers workshop in Howth, outside Dublin, with poets Ted Deppe and Annie Deppe, and non-fiction writer Suzanne Strempek Shea. I’m really looking forward to having concentrated time to rest and write.
Then I’m catching the train north to Belfast to visit Anthea McWilliams, founder of the HoiPolloi Dance Company. Anthea’s just completed a fantastic project called Slow Dancing Up Ireland. Part public performance art, part peace initiative, Anthea did sneak dance performances from the tip of Northern Ireland to the bottom of Ireland. She danced on country roads in response to the “sounds” of the land. Check out her project here.
Finally, I’m going out to the Dingle Peninsula to the region of the Gaeltacht, where Irish is still spoken, to visit the ancient monastic beehive hermitages and make the pilgrimage up Ireland’s Holy Mountain (Mt. Brandon).
I’m also planning on downing Irish oysters and tasting a Guiness or two! Look for updates from the Emerald Isle..