Sunday, 1 September 2013

Day 408: Lifeline

As a mark of respect and admiration, I will be posting Seamus Heaney poems all week from today.

Here he is with a poem written for his second grand-daughter, the final poem in his most recent collection 'Human Chain'. (He wrote another kite poem - 'A Kite for Michael and Christopher' - earlier in his career for his two sons, which you can read here.)

Look at the way he so skillfully describes the movement of the kite - so fluid and eloquent, almost like life you think - yes, like life, like living a life well - as Heaney wishes here for his new grandchild, as he did for his sons previously.

A Kite for Aibhín - Seamus Heaney

after 'L'Aquilone' by Giovanni Pascoli (1855-1912)

Air from another life and time and place,
Pale blue heavenly air is supporting
A white wing beating high against the breeze,

And yes, it is a kite! As when one afternoon
All of us there trooped out
Among the briar hedges and stripped thorn,

I take my stand again, halt opposite
Anahorish Hill to scan the blue,
Back in that field to launch our long-tailed comet.

And now it hovers, tugs, veers, dives askew,
Lifts itself, goes with the wind until
It rises to loud cheers from us below.

Rises, and my hand is like a spindle
Unspooling, the kite a thin-stemmed flower
Climbing and carrying, carrying farther, higher

The longing in the breast and planted feet
And gazing face and heart of the kite flier
Until string breaks and – separate, elate –

The kite takes off, itself alone, a windfall.

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