The Guardian has just published what may have been the last poem Seamus Heaney ever wrote. It was completed just two months before his death on Aug. 30, 2013, and was written for an anthology commemorating the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI. He wrote it in response to Edward Thomas’s ”As The Team’s Head Brass.”
So here it is, the last of Heaney’s ploughs and furrows, his fleshy earth and breathing land :’(
And there I was in the middle of a field,
The furrows once called “scores’ still with their gloss,
The tractor with its hoisted plough just gone
Snarling at an unexpected speed
Out on the road. Last of the jobs,
The windings had been ploughed, furrows turned
Three ply or four round each of the four sides
Of the breathing land, to mark it off
And out. Within that boundary now
Step the fleshy earth and follow
The long healed footprints of one who arrived
From nowhere, unfamiliar and de-mobbed,
In buttoned khaki and buffed army boots,
Bruising the turned-up acres of our back field
To stumble from the windings’ magic ring
And take me by a hand to lead me back
Through the same old gate into the yard
Where everyone has suddenly appeared,
All standing waiting.
"Every day can’t be a holiday! Who the hell’s paying for all this damn meat?"
A letter written to a fan by Oscar Wilde about his famous quote:
My dear Sir
Art is useless because its aim is simply to create a mood. It is not meant to instruct, or to influence action in any way. It is superbly sterile, and the note of its pleasure is sterility. If the contemplation of a work of art is followed by activity of any kind, the work is either of a very second-rate order, or the spectator has failed to realise the complete artistic impression.
A work of art is useless as a flower is useless. A flower blossoms for its own joy. We gain a moment of joy by looking at it. That is all that is to be said about our relations to flowers. Of course man may sell the flower, and so make it useful to him, but this has nothing to do with the flower. It is not part of its essence. It is accidental. It is a misuse. All this is I fear very obscure. But the subject is a long one.
See pictures of the original hand-written letter at Letters of Note.
This is the most insightful thing I’ve seen all day, and the only other thing I’ve looked at is my own writing. Whoops.
This is my new favorite blog, I think
(Submission from Brianna, thanks!)
Me. Is this about me? This is about me. What is NetGalley?