“Humming” Yeats and Kavanaugh and Heaney in My Head

ClimbingSky has been quiet for a long time. Other projects and diversions have preoccupied my time and attention. More diversions than projects, if truth be told.

Sitting a week ago in a little house, halfway between Yeats’ grave in Drumcliff churchyard and his beloved Ben Bulben, I was re-reading Yeats’s Celtic Twilight, and rediscovered this line:

“I have desired, like every artist, to create a little world out of the beautiful, pleasant, and significant things of this marred and clumsy world….”

I am feeling the need now to fire-up the engines of ClimbingSky and point this boat out to sea again. Maybe in the same direction, maybe some new one. Much has changed after all since I last sailed this ship into the blogosphere, with me and with this “marred and clumsy” world.

I am an American poet, but my mentors are Irish: W.B. Yeats, Patrick Kavanaugh, Seamus Heaney. I think it was W.H. Auden who once said something along the lines that: if you are born in Europe you inherit your past, but if you are born in America you can create your own.

The past I have created for myself is in part Irish. Raised Protestant, once a Lutheran pastor-in-waiting, I have become Roman Catholic. Weaned on Robert Frost and Edgar Allan Poe, I walk about the world now “humming” Yeats and Kavanaugh and Heaney in my head.

Predisposed as I am, by body chemistry and temperament, to easily dwell upon the darkness in this “marred and clumsy” world, I have come to believe that Art and Roman Catholicism are the two things that can remind us of the beauty and holiness of this world, the two things that ultimately can save us from our baser selves, the two things that can “convert” us to Love (capital “L”): love of our neighbor, love of this beautiful and holy world, and love of God who created, redeemed, and sustains it all.

Me at Yeat's Grave

Me at Yeat’s Grave (photo by d.j. hinton)


Ben Bulben

Ben Bulben (photo by m.a.h. hinton)


Croagh Patrick, Ireland's Holy Mountain

Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s Holy Mountain (photo by m.a.h. hinton)

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