A tiny meditation on Poetry and Prose
They do different jobs entirely don’t they?
I can only ever remember two lines of prose – from two different books. One was from Tess of the D’Urbervilles when Hardy wrote about her ‘mobile peony mouth.’ The other could never be guessed at.
Lines from poetry I find easier to recall – at least in fragments. It’s probably because good poems are so utterly alive and vivid – to forget a great line is like forgetting the face of a good friend or a loved song. At the moment, I am totally stuck on the last lines from Seamus Heaney’s poem ‘The Underground’
I meant to post it here when he died, but I don’t think I did because I just wanted to read it. And then read it again and revel in the perfect tautness of the imagery. Perfect is not really a word I use much, but this poem, by the time you get to the last three lines is perfect.
Read or listen to the whole thing read by Heaney himself here ‘… and damned if I look back.’