Caution: it’s not entirely clear whether what follows is a consequence of too much time slooshing about or arrives as crisp enquiry.
The last line of Heaney’s knockout poem Postscript often materializes when soft buffetings catch the mind or heart offguard, blowing it open.
Well, here’s a case in point which mebbie one of his friends, family or informed fans can help clarify. Is it possible Douglas Adams was being more romantic and less numeric when he discerned the Answer to be 42?
There are written accounts of how, haphazardly, this immutable solution dropped into him, thence onto the sheet of paper.
But was it, in fact, shorthand for – or a typo that should have read 4 2 – For Two?
As simply everything tastes better when it’s shared, one can clearly see For Two might answer the question at the centre of every Life, Universe and Thing.
We’d welcome your thoughts.
Here then, for its own sake of ‘glorious exultation’, is …
And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.
Seamus Heaney, 1998