Often, the most poignant and potent moment of a culture is its dying gasp. Before the end, as a world implodes, there is a last great gathering of its energies. A shaman has a vision in the forest and arrives back with a millennial vision of salvation in which the ancient spirits are revived. A writer emerges to chronicle a way of life with a steely clarity forged from the urgent knowledge that it must be recorded before it dies. A painter evokes its colours and essences with a feverish intensity imbued with the magical hope that, if only it can be captured, it will not fade. A singer sustains a plaintive dying fall on the air and, in that note, a whole world hovers on the edge of extinction.
Fintan O’Toole in today’s Irish Times on Jedward.