The day I entered St Columb’s College, my parents bought me a Conway Stewart pen. It was a special afternoon, of course. We were going to be parting that evening; they were aware of it, I was aware of it, nothing much was said about it.
Poems that come swiftly are usually the ones that you keep.
I don’t think my intelligence is naturally analytic or political.
My father was a creature of the archaic world, really. He would have been entirely at home in a Gaelic hill-fort. His side of the family, and the houses I associate with his side of the family, belonged to a traditional rural Ireland.
I think that water is immediately interesting. It’s just, as an element, it is full of life. It is associated with origin; it is bright – it reflects you.
Anyone born and bred in Northern Ireland can’t be too optimistic.
What I’ve said before, only half in joke, is that everybody in Ireland is famous. Or, maybe better, say everybody is familiar.
History says, ‘Don’t hope on this side of the grave.’
The faking of feelings is a sin against the imagination.
I would say that something important for me and for my generation in Northern Ireland was the 1947 Education Act, which allowed students who won scholarships to go on to secondary schools and thence to university.