Out of the marvelous as he had known it

When I answered that I came from “far away,”
The policeman at the roadblock snapped, “Where’s that?”
He’d only half heard what I said and thought
It was the name of some place up the country.

And now it is – both where I have been living
And where I have left-a distance still to go
Like starlight that is light-years on the go
From far away and takes light-years arriving.
Seamus Heaney, Far Away [1]

Ah, the joy of going home for the holidays.

In much of his writings – both poems and essays – Seamus Heaney deals with displacement.  The disorientation can be through language and narrative elements, as he explains in the introduction to his translation of Beowulf, or through time, the ‘light-years’ between where you have been and where you are now.

[1] The New Yorker,  1994,  26 December  “Happy New Year”

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