The poem focuses on an Boston fire-fighter’s headgear, symbolic of a breed regarded as god-like ‘supermen’ risking their lives for society especially after 9/11. It was presented ‘formally’ to Heaney in an informal ceremony in Boston. The poem celebrates heroism and  human solidarity. A helmet –  its owner; its provenance –  a Boston fireman’s gift, bearing the name printed boldly on its spread / Fantailing brim , an elongated shoulder-awning.  The eye is drawn upwards:  evidence of its energetic use (tinctures of sweat and hair oil) and its enduring  longevity (withered sponge and shock-absorbing webs); its dome not a civilian crown , but rather a proud classical symbol of ‘military’ prowess crest, for crest it is;  its particular strength (steel-ridged) […]