Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reasons to be Cheerful: Heaney on CD

Sometimes I would like to be able to thank whoever came up with an idea that makes the day better: the inventer of ipods; whoever talked Jim Norton into reading the whole of Ulysses Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist for Naxos.

Today, I’d like to thank the genius who decided to ask Seamus Heaney to read all his books, recorded him, and then made the recordings available.

Not just for me now, but for the great grandchildren. Imagine, if someone could have caught Coleridge chanting Christobel, or Wyatt reading ”They flee from me”. Did Chaucer’s voice sound like the vocalization of a knowing wink? Did Caedmon sing or chant or simply speak rhythmically?

But a long time ago last Friday, I fell in love with “The Poet and the Piper” Cd. Heaney reading: Liam O’Flynn playing. Ok, so I was skipping the poems to get to the piping at first, but then I started listening to the poems and realised voice was the primal instrument. Not a singing voice, but a voice speaking in organised rhythms. One step before Sean nos.

And Heaney’s poems work as an extension of that voice. Since I first heard him read; I can’t read his poems without hearing him. Which is probably the highest compliment I can pay the man. Not that he needs any from me.

So to hear the whole of ‘Squarings’ read is a marvelous way to end a good day. Like meeting an old friend after a long break, rediscovering the connections but noting things I hadn’t seen or remembered seeing before.

So to RTE; Much and many thanks.

Do not waver into language/do not waver in it.

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