Relic of Memory

Lough Neigh is found in the middle of N. Ireland. It is the largest fresh water lake in the British Isles. In recent years it has become the “mecca” for Game of Thrones fans who visit the many sites in N. Ireland filmed as part of this epic series. The N. Ireland tourist Board has not been slow in marketing Game of Throne tours which capture the 28 different filming locations. Lough Neigh features in S5 Ep5 Summer Sea.

The Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, was very mindful of the world in which he was set and mindful of the interplay between the physical world and the spiritual world. In his poem Relic of Memory he reflects on the wonders of Lough Neigh and what goes on under water and over centuries. The very use of the word “relic” which often carries a spiritual significance, sets a reverent tone to the poem. Heaney writes from a personal memory of early school years and of a piece of stone sitting on a shelf in the classroom. There are many metaphors in the poem and behind the words there is much of the physical and metaphysical. He goes beyond earth with the birth of galaxies and their constant evolution and meteor showers. There is wonder above and below water, there is life even in the darkest of places. It can never be just a piece of stone! Enjoy.

Relic of Memory

The lough waters
Can petrify wood:
Old oars and posts
Over the years
Harden their grain,
Incarcerate ghosts

Of sap and season.
The shallows lap
And give and take:
Constant ablutions,
Such a drowning love
Stun a stake

To stalagmite.
Dead lava,
The cooling star,
Coal and diamond
Or sudden birth
Of burnt meteor

Are too simple,
Without the lure
That relic stored—
A piece of stone
On the shelf at school,
Oatmeal coloured. Seamus Heaney

Lord God of the visible and the invisible,
Creator of wonder and mystery,
I stand in awe of the complexity and majesty
of this our earthly home.
I stand in praise of you O Lord of Life.
Remind me that the bright colors
of the butterfly, and the speed of the jaguar,
the towering height of Everest, and the
deepest depth of the Pacific ocean each declare
their song of praise. And the prophet Isaiah reminds us
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
Lord God accept my hymn of praise and
hear my thanks this day. Amen.

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