Martha, Evie and I went today to the Seamus Heaney HomePlace at Bellaghy. The girls enjoyed the Exhibition much more than I expected them to. They were especially taken with the interactive features.
In this part of the exhibition, visitors can watch and listen to a variety of people including actors, musicians, writers, Presidents, neighbours and local schoolchildren speak of their connection to Heaney and read from his work. In the photograph above my grandchildren are listening to President Bill Clinton speak of his friendship with Seamus Heaney. The section of poetry that President Clinton chose to read was from The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles' Philoctetes.
History says, Don’t hope On this side of the grave,’
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.
So hope for a great sea- change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles.
And cures and healing wells.
That gave me such hope in these trying and difficult times as did the pleasure that Martha and Evie took from today's experience.
Evie must have listened to at least ten poems on the interactive listening devices. She said her favourite poem was the one about the kite. (A Kite For Michael And Christopher) At six years of age, I don't think she can have an understanding of the complexity of the poem but listening to Heaney's beautiful voice I'm sure she recognised some of the compassion and beauty that the poem contains. The last verse is one of my own favourite pieces, the line 'You were born fit for it' I find especially reassuring.
Before the kite plunges down into the wood
and this line goes useless
take in your two hands, boys, and feel
the strumming, rooted, long-tailed pull of grief.
You were born fit for it.
Stand in here in front of me
and take the strain.
As always, Martha the artist took great pleasure in the children's creative zone.
And Evie, when she tried on this hat in the dressing up corner...
...immediately put me under arrest.