At home in Ireland, there's a habit of avoidance, an ironical attitude towards the authority figure.
In a war situation or where violence and injustice are prevalent, poetry is called upon to be something more than a thing of beauty.
But that citizen's perception was also at one with the truth in recognizing that the very brutality of the means by which the IRA were pursuing change was destructive of the trust upon which new possibilities would have to be based.
What I've said before, only half in joke, is that everybody in Ireland is famous. Or, maybe better, say everybody is familiar.
Even if the hopes you started out with are dashed, hope has to be maintained.
I have always thought of poems as stepping stones in one's own sense of oneself. Every now and again, you write a poem that gives you self-respect and steadies your going a little bit farther out in the stream. At the same time, you have to conjure the next stepping stone because the stream, we hope, keeps flowing.
The faking of feelings is a sin against the imagination.
I'm very conscious that people dear to me are alive in my imagination - poets in particular.
I don't think my intelligence is naturally analytic or political.
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