Reading My Way Around the World

Friday 30 August 2013

Farewell for now


"Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun"

Seamus Heaney died today .... (read this piece from the Washington Post)

...such a great loss to the world of Irish literature ... he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 and some say he was one of the world's all time great poets.  There was a ruralness to his poetry and I've always loved the richness of the language - this poem, Digging, sums him up well for me - a poem which is very relevant to the digging we all do as artists.

"Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks in to gravelly ground:
My father, digging.   I look down.

Til his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade,
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any man on Toner's bog
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper.   He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf.   Digging.  

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.  

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests. 
I'll dig with it."

* * * * * * * *

I hope this isn't goodbye ...

I'm so sad that this 30 day challenge to blog every day for a month has come to an end .... I've missed the last few days and it'll take a few days to get caught up reading the last week's worth of blogs from all the wonderful new people I've come to know here ... and hopefully it'll be a practice that we'll all continue.   A huge shout out to Effy Wild for starting this off!   Check out her brilliant web site and courses for artists here.

Right now, I'm in the middle of France - it's dusk - and there's a noise that belongs to places that are warm and sunny - a slight hum of insects, friends preparing dinner, distant sounds of traffic.... the outline of the hills is dark behind the vineyards, and there's a vague shade of pink left in the sky.  Tomorrow we have a gig, but for tonight we're still allowed to feel like we're on holiday.

We've been spending time with some old friends - it's been at least 6 years since we last saw each other, but it may as well be yesterday.... Isn't that the lovely thing about friendship ... you don't have to see each other every day to connect ... we were sitting around the table trying to remember where it was we first met ... and the only thing we can agree on was that it was at least 15-18 years ago and it was in Holland. 

We've spent the day lazing around the place after the morning trip to the vegetable market ... those photos will have to wait for another day...  and I even spent some time making art.

I hope that I continue to see all of you on a regular basis - I look forward to continuing reading your blogs ...  and look forward to the next challenge to connect.

Enough wine for another couple of years!  Outside our friends garden fence this is the wonderful view :)  Near Cahors in France.

1 comment:

  1. I hope you keep Blogging Fil! I have enjoyed and indeed Looked for your blogs. Isn't interesting how we think how interesting someone else's life is, and yet...they think Ours is just as Interesting??!! LOL I guess there is a bunch of "interest" there! Thanks for Posting!!


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