As Seamus Heaney describes it, this is a ‘heavenly father’ who makes wonderful use of the quality of omnipotence, by drawing on his boundless attention, energy and bandwidth to cherish every fallen sparrow, egg or other fragile life form, through all eternity. 

Yet just as the fall of a sparrow is to the heavenly father a matter of infinite concern, to be cherished through all eternity, so the fall of an egg places absolute demands upon poetic imagination and tests its ability to plump the shell with its own ghostly plenitude. 

The mention of a fallen egg also reminds me of a tender quotation in the magical book The Secret Garden.

The immense, tender, terrible, heart-breaking beauty and solemnity of Eggs.  If there had been one person in that garden who had not known through all his or her innermost being that if an Egg were taken away or hurt the whole world would whirl round and crash through space and come to an end – if there had been even one who did not feel it and act accordingly there could have been no happiness even in that golden springtime air.

Source: Seamus Heaney, Finders Keepers: Selected prose 1971-2001 (London: Faber and Faber, 2003), p. 243; Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden, illus. Inga Moore (London: Walker Books, 2009), p. 281

Photo credits: dennisflarsen and susannP4 at pixabay

Quotation: Seamus Heaney - Finders Keepers


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