|M.A. Reilly, 10.1.11|
Catching the Heart
Seamus Heaney’s “Postscript,” speaks to me, always has from the first time I read it in 1996. It is a poem that juxtaposes containment and rupture. I often imagine, perhaps even hear, the poet speaking directly to me in intimate tones as I read it aloud. A friend alongside as I stop the car as I must do--a tourist in this land where I was born. And there is Seamus, reminding me that in the bustle of my life, the hurry through, I can no more capture the scene, as I might stop the winds from buffeting the car or my heart from being blown open. He knows so well that this “scene” is really an artificially stopped moment and signals such with the first word of the poem, And.
Art works that way when we make the time. We find ourselves arrived at a place of feeling that we cannot trace. Life happens that way too.
Finding the poetic in the everyday by realizing that one cannot get ready for it, nor control it seems to be at the heart of “Postscript.” The Flaggy Shore in Clare County Ireland (especially in late September) certainly invites wonder and awe as the starkness of land meets sky. A lyric poem. A sharp breath we exhale .
But more is at work here than mere contrasts of light and dark. I have traveled the Flaggy Shore to make images and have done so in late September, as well as other times of the year. I rerun these images in my head like reels of film, re-seeing the vastness, the dark and light, the splintered beauty, and with each image I recall the vulnerability felt at what I knew then, like I know now, I could not capture. There is so much beyond my human breath to behold.
In hacking the poem, I wanted to first do it visually and the result is above. The image is a combination of works I have made along the Flaggy Shore and also at home in New Jersey, as well as some random images of sky that I remixed. I wanted all of the messiness of place as it seems to suggest how futile containment is given the inevitability of rupture.
Listen now, as the poet reads the poem.