I have just returned from a weekend in Donegal, which is still beautiful, beaches and hills and hedgerows of red fuchsia and orange montbretia.
A reunion weekend, with friends who once upon a time had been together at Queen’s University Belfast. Eight of us made it to George’s home at Rathgory, to a generous welcome, lots of comfort and all those books to browse and CDs to play (and he still has tapes).
We were all saddened on Saturday when we heard of Seamus Heaney’s death, though we had all the poetry there to read and remind ourselves. We were there (QUB) when he was there, but he wasn’t published or famous, yet. So we missed a chance, as we have noted before now.
One of my favourites,
A rowan like a lipsticked girl.
Between the by-road and the main road
Alder trees at a wet and dripping distance
Stand off among the rushes.
There are the mud-flowers of dialect
And the immortelles of perfect pitch
And that moment when the bird sings very close
To the music of what happens.
This poem was given to me by Jean McCartney many years ago, the only one of ‘our crowd’ who did know Heaney, but she herself died thirty years ago, we remembered her too. And a different Jean, Cecil’s wife who died more recently. Some of the music we played, that Jean used to sing.
And, we had a lot of music, and all those daft jokes I can’t recall.
Walking and talking, eating, sharing the clearing up. Thanks George, Cecil, Wilf, David, Desmond, Sandra and Irene. And also Carmel and Michael from nearby there.
Music of what happens, now and again, close enough.