Saturday, 8 October 2016

Max Richards shares: 6, Seamus Heaney, Patrick Kavanagh, and Hugh Underhill

Here is an email, unchanged, from Max Richards (1937-2016) received in March 2014. His preliminaries include [perhaps only Hugh Underhill, who crops up in the dream needs to read this] which is odd seeing how he sends it to me as well after a conversation about Seamus Heaney. Or is it a memo to himself? I am starting to find that Max’s emailing habits had an element of disclosure of things his correspondents had not necessarily thought would be forwarded on, reported back, &c. Now, all of that is fairly immaterial, though tread carefully. Hugh Underhill was a colleague at La Trobe University, author of ‘The Problem of Consciousness in Modern Poetry’ (Cambridge University Press, 1992). Do we sleep or wake? I think the dream has a paradisal, peaceful feel.

as mentioned today in chat with Philip - 

best wishes from Max 

[my only face to face time with SH was in the signing queue years ago at the melb writers' festival, when I had a pile of his books in my satchel, whereas others merely had what the bookstall stocked]

 [perhaps only Hugh Underhill, who crops up in the dream needs to read this]

Seldom do I have a dream that's long and happy, but last night I was in Ireland, being shown round by my friend Seamus Heaney and his dear wife Mary.

I didn't see their Dublin house, but we relaxed in their spacious country residence south of Dublin, and I enjoyed time with their grandchildren.

The Heaneys made sure that the tickets I showed them for the night boat back to England would be OK if I stayed an extra night.

So we saw some country I had always longed to see, and a town on a hill with fine old buildings.

Seamus hobnobbed with the locals as if he was one of them.

Patrick Kavanagh ran in my head so I acquitted myself well in the talk.

The plates and all from our meal had been taken to the kitchen and when I peeked in, wondering about how the chores were shared, I saw my old colleague and poet friend Hugh Underhill sleeves rolled up making great progress over the sink.

I needn't join him but turned to thank Seamus for signing a poetry leaflet he was giving me.

I reached into my satchel, came up with a handsome paperback, saying 'Here's my copy of Opened Ground, which I bought in Harvard Coop', thinking how he'd smile remembering Harvard Square. Then it came to me that I had bought the book soon after Seamus's death.

I was in a time loop which I must not mention for fear of shattering my experience here with the welcoming generous man, his smile and his lovely voice and sayings.

But the dream was ending, and I was in bed in Melbourne, and Ireland had faded.

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