Friday, October 14, 2011

‘… a grey eye will look back’

I picked up Human Chain today. It's a book of poetry written by Séamus Heaney. I picked it from my bookshelf where it had been sitting for a few months. I'm not a big reader.

Though I do enjoy poetry. Once in a while. It enriches words again and, in doing so, enriches and clarifies the passing of time. Poetry is well-thought meaning-rich words. Talk is cheap these days. It's always been. Though, it seems to be getting cheaper with every advertisement, and every figure who has said too much.

Here's one of his poems from 'Human Chain' to reinvest the meanings to words that are, like nearly everything in this financially-vacuous state, in need of reinvestment:

‘Colum Cille Cecinit’
1. Is scíth mo chrob ón scríbainn
My hand is cramped from penwork.
My quill has a tapered point.
It's bird-mouth issues a blue-dark
Beetle-sparkle of ink.

Wisdom keeps welling in streams
From my fine-drawn sallow hand:
Riverrun on the vellum
Of ink from green-skinned holly.

My small runny pen keeps going
Through books, through thick and thin,
To enrich the scholars' holdings -
Penwork that cramps my hand.

II. Is aire charaim Doire
Derry I cherish ever.
It is calm, it is clear.
Crowds of White angels on their rounds
At every corner.

III. Fil súil nglais
Towards Ireland a grey eye
Will look back but see
Ever again
The men of Ireland or her women.

11th-12th century


  1. Thanks for this post! Very apt it is as 'the grey eye' is manifest in many aspects of life in Eireann now!

  2. Good to step back sometimes and reflect on the meaning of simple words.