Seamus Heaney in 1970
“When I sit opposite the desk, it’s like being an altar boy in the sacristy getting ready to go out on to the main altar.” (Seamus Heaney)
Seamus Heaney, the great Irish poet and Nobel Laureate, considered writing to be a sacred act. His Catholicism was deep rooted. Edgy and political, his poetry also sanctified the most ordinary of things and places. And of course, he wrote about the sacred too. Published in The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People, by Cathleen Falsani (2006), A Found Poem, by Seamus Heaney:-
Like everybody else, I bowed my head
during the consecration of the bread and wine,
lifted my eyes to the raised host and raised chalice,
believed (whatever it means) that a change occurred.
I went to the altar rails and received the mystery
on my tongue, returned to my place, shut my eyes fast, made
an act of thanksgiving, opened my eyes and felt
time starting up again.
There was never a scene
when I had it out with myself or with an other.
The loss of faith occurred off stage. Yet I cannot
disrespect words like ‘thanksgiving’ or ‘host’
or even ‘communion wafer.’ They have an undying
pallor and draw, like well water far down.
A “penniless poet” (the daughter of a friend) has come up with a great idea to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Agnes Davis has set herself the target of writing 100 poems on one day next week, Wednesday 20th November, in aid of the Disasters Emergency Committee Philippines Typhoon Appeal. The link to her JustGiving site is here if you are willing and able to contribute.
Agnes would also like ideas for the subject of the poems to be sent to her. Here are the requests she has received so far. I know what I’m going to be asking her to write a poem about . . . .
Aid and prayers are needed for the Philippines now and for some time to come.
Santo Niño de Cebú (Holy Child of Cebu), pray for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan
St Médard, pray for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan
St Jude, pray for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan