Welcome to the blog of Melanie McDonald ! I'm a professional artist, my life is divided between my home in Newquay, Cornwall and my renovation project - an 18th Century farm - in North Brittany, France. My inspiration comes from the beautiful beaches, skies and seas of Cornwall, Brittany and Scotland. This is where I share my paintings and photographs, I hope it inspires you.

September 15, 2013

R.I.P. Wonderful Poet

The Skylight
You were the one for skylights.  I opposed
Cutting into the seasoned tongue-and-groove
Of pitch pine.  I liked it low and closed,
Its claustrophobic, nest-in-the-roof
Effect.  I liked the snuff-dry feeling,
The perfect, trunk-lid fit of the old ceiling.
Under there, it was all hutch and hatch.
The blue slates kept the heat like midnight thatch.

But when the slates came off, extravagant
Sky entered and held surprise wide open.
For days I felt like an inhabitant
Of that house where the man sick of the palsy
Was lowered through the roof, had his sins forgiven,
Was healed, took up his bed and walked away.

The Skylight by Seamus Heaney - (13 April 1939 - 30 August 2013)

The much loved Irish poet Seamus Heaney died last month, aged 74.  This poem, from his collection called Seeing Things (1991) - is one of my favourites.  I enjoy it for many reasons, one of which is the insight it gives in to Heaney's character and relationship with his wife, Marie.  In his writers' room in the attic of their Dublin home, (after 20 years of 'nest-in-the-roof'), Marie insists on skylights - he opposes, but demurs.  Heaney is astonished, 'surprise wide open'!  'Extravagant sky' enters, (surely, this is not the same Dublin sky?, he may have thought).  It was like a spiritual epiphany, he was miraculously inspired, healed physically.  Not one for change, perhaps he looked to Marie for the 'things beyond measure' mentioned in Squarings, also from this collection.

p.s. Seamus Heaney's poem is teamed up with my painting Starry, Starry, Night - Isle of Skye, (I hope he doesn't mind!) .... I like to imagine that he also wrote under a galaxy of starlight.  R.I.P. Wonderful Poet.

n.b. photograph by Eamonn McCabe for the Guardian - Seamus Heaney obituary

Prints of Melanie McDonald paintings in my New! Online Shop

Paintings at Melanie McDonald Gallery 

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