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August 31, 2013


this is the second Heaney tribute i've read. he is new to me and i wonder why.

his thought of poetry is never final, we can go on with it, forever, is comforting and exciting.

thank you for sharing.

I was so saddened to hear about this. "The Cure at Troy" is a poem that never fails to inspire hope in me, despite the most devastating news of the world. Such a gifted man.

The most unpoetic of poets: by which I mean genial, seemingly outward, self-deprecatory - an entertaining carapace with which he hid his seriousness for other occasions. I saw him at Hay Festival in the largest tent, full to bursting. Our tickets had cost £20 and it was rumoured we could have sold them for £200. My familiarity with his poetry was glancing and I suppose I was there to gawk. But something else drew me too; I suspected he would speak easily about poetry and I would end up better informed. I did. He knew he was speaking to an audience of wide-ranging tastes and knowledge and he opted for simplicity, a quality I'd noticed in the few poems I'd read. I'd gone there in pursuit of celebrity, an unthinking product of the TV age. I didn't deserve to profit from the occasion but I did. At no time would I have been tempted to sell on the ticket and as I left the tent, having seen him and heard him, the very idea now seemed abhorrent. I am not equipped to share your feelings about Heaney and this is a rackety, dubious sort of tribute. But in the midst of a horrifying evening of news about Syria the mention of his death revived the warmth I had felt. Together with regret. That I'd arrived too late. I hadn't lived long enough - consciously - in his company.

I too found the wholesome sadness about his death a comfort and a balance to the news of the wider world just now: that in him one could touch something deep and good and human. And though he's gone that remains, though I wish it didn't so often require someone's passing to make me go back to them. But as he said, there's no end to the learning.

Thanks so much for this Beth, and wishing you well in your travels.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.