The main thing …

The main thing is to write
for the joy of it. Cultivate a work-lust
that imagines its haven like your hands at night

dreaming the sun in the sunspot of a breast.
You are fasted now, light-headed, dangerous.
Take off from here. And don’t be so earnest,

so ready for the sackcloth and the ashes.
Let go, let fly, forget.
You’ve listened long enough. Now strike your note.

From Seamus Heaney’s Station Island XII.

Seamus Heaney, the great Irish poet, has created some of my favorite poetic images. I studied Station Island in college, and always return to it as a source of writing inspiration. Station Island is also the name of an island off the coast of Donegal, Ireland’s northernmost county. Heaney is in the middle of writer’s block, until James Joyce leaps from the shadows to slap some sense into him. “Don’t be so earnest!”

Would that we all were lucky enough to have our own island of solitude.

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