Blackwatertown

By Paul Waters

Maverick cop Jolly Macken goes looking for a killer, but accidentally starts a war

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Seamus Heaney and me

The poetry of the late Seamus Heaney is one of the inspirations for Blackwatertown. I saw and heard him chat and read his poetry a few times in Belfast and London - and then celebrate Ted Hughes at his memorial service at Westminster Abbey. There's a special centre all about him in Bellaghy now, and famous Seamus has all sorts of famous poems. I love his work, but it's Bye-Child that has particular significance for Blackwatertown.

I was hoping to quote from it in my book's epigraph, but the rights are split between two publishers and it looks as though it'll be too expensive. So, dear pledgers, you can read it here. (Then forget it until after you've read the book, and then go "Aaaah...")

Bye-Child

He was discovered in the henhouse

where she had confined him.  He was

incapable of saying anything.

 

When the lamp glowed,

A yolk of light

In their back window,

The child in the outhouse

Put his eye to a chink--

 

Little henhouse boy,

Sharp-faced as new moons

Remembered, your photo still

Glimpsed like a rodent

On the floor of my mind,

 

Little moon man,

Kennelled and faithful

At the foot of the yard,

Your frail shape, luminous,

Weightless, is stirring the dust,

 

The cobwebs, old droppings

Under the roosts

And dry smells from scraps

She put through your trapdoor

Morning and evening.

 

After those footsteps, silence;

Vigils, solitudes, fasts,

Unchristened tears,

A puzzled love of the light.

But now you speak at last

 

With a remote mime

Of something beyond patience,

Your gaping wordless proof

Of lunar distances

Travelled beyond love.

 

from "Wintering Out" (1972)

 

Of course the other inspiration for Blackwatertown is you, dear pledgers. All 92 of you. Thanks to your support we've made it to 34% funded. So, I'm proud and grateful to welcome Julia Baber, Helen Blaby, Harry Salvidge, Andrea Catherwood, Ciaran Ward, Sonja Verma, Amanda Bolt, Paul Rocks, Liz Apedaile, George Eykyn, Ted Chaplin and Gill Edmonds. Thank you. And, y'know, tell your mates. (No, I never do give up.)
(PS the pic of Seamus is from here.)
 

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