In the Irish Times, Paul Murray provides a good starting point for 2013
It would be easier for all of us if, in John Montague’s words, “old moulds are broken”; and if, like John Hewitt, we scrutinised the myths of our tribe. We would inhabit a happier island if we imbibed some of Hewitt’s gritty integrity that sought to comprehend the other tribe so that the “goat and ox may graze in the same field/and each gain something from proximity”.
Hewitt, like Clarke before him, understood the other. He grasped tribal complexities and the difficulties in finding one’s place in our island’s narratives. He knew that “this is my home and country. Later on/perhaps I’ll find this nation is my own/but here and now it is enough to love/this faulted ledge, this map of cloud above”.
He sought to embrace that which he did not fully understand. A patriot in the best sense.
As ever, read the whole thing.