Here at BGA, we’re in the habit of celebrating the birthdays of dead authors. And while I’m sure that Samuel Beckett (110 today) and Eudora Welty (107) are both worthy objects of such admiration, this April 13 is going to be spent on Seamus Heaney and his exquisite poem “Postscript.”
In some ways, this poem reminds me of C. S. Lewis’s idea of sehnsucht, and especially of the way in which that idea relates to beauty. In his essay “The Weight of Glory,” Lewis writes:
We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
It is a difficult idea to put into words, but I think Heaney gets about as close as anyone will with this poem.
You can read it here, and you can also listen to a reading of it by the man himself: