One of Seamus Heaney’s close friends was the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz. Milosz wrote:
“Books were still governed by the old rule,
Born of a belief that visible beauty
Is a little mirror for the beauty of being.”
Poetry is just that: a little mirror for the beauty of being, praise for the gift of being.
Earlier on Heaney moved from his religious upbringing to a more secular view, but like Nabokov and Updike, better known for their prose than their poetry, he was concerned about the afterlife and the love one experiences in this one. The poem Sunlight, for his Aunt Mary, is one of the most beautiful of all. See Leader Page 27.