It was on this day in 1995 that Seamus Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
One poem from the great master has been dominating my thoughts today, as I recall the enormous sense of occasion and history that I felt on October 5th, 1995.
I remember well cradling our four-month-old baby and marvelling at Seamus Heaney’s ability to capture the innocence of childhood which seemed to be both behind and in front of me.
The Railway Children
When we climbed the slopes of the cutting
We were eye-level with the white cups
Of the telegraph poles and the sizzling wires.
Like lovely freehand they curved for miles
East and miles west beyond us, sagging
Under their burden of swallows.
We were small and thought we knew nothing
Worth knowing. We thought words travelled the wires
In the shiny pouches of raindrops,
Each one seeded full with the light
Of the sky, the gleam of the lines, and ourselves
So infinitesimally scaled
We could stream through the eye of a needle.
Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)