After taking part in a poetry programme for BBC School Radio, Seamus Heaney and I repaired to the George pub, round the corner from the BBC, with the producer Stuart Evans and his wife, Kay. We then walked to Soho for a curry. Outside the restaurant Seamus found a lady’s court shoe lying in the gutter. He picked it up and took it with us into the restaurant.
During the meal Seamus inscribed a poem on the inside of the shoe. He did not show it to us. After the meal I asked him if I could have it. “Oh no,” he said. “It’s for the lady.” He laid the shoe reverently back where he had found it and we went our separate ways into the night.
I often asked him if he had ever had a reply from the shoeless woman. “Not yet,” he said. “But you never know.”