Philip King on Port na bPúcaí

[From the Times re favourite Seamus Heaney poems >>]

“I suppose my nearest and dearest poem of Heaney’s is The Given Note . What it refers to – as I understand it – is the body of water between Dún Chaoin and the Blasket Islands called the Blasket Sound. The lore locally is that the tune Port na bPúcaí came out of that body of water. For me, many things resonate in that poem. I hear the tune when I read the poem – or when it’s in my head, I also see the place. And when I stand and look out at the Blaskets I often hear that tune, and the poem, in my head. They’ve become interwoven, really.

“There’s something about the time we’re in now – the things we’re given are the things we take for granted. But ultimately, they’re the things that are valuable beyond value. They were given freely, and were passed on orally, transmitted from one to the other, nothing asked for but everything given. ‘Bits of a tune/Coming in on loud weather’.”


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