Midnight Anvil

Heaney is reminded of the last seconds of December 31st, 1999 when local blacksmith, Barney Devlin, already in his eighties, struck twelve hammer-blows on his anvil for the millennium. In an article Heaney described this moment as a ‘strike’ similar to the 9/11 ‘strike’ in that both ‘strikes, the latter a hostile act, the former celebratory, acted as ‘tuning-forks’ for poems. Heaney reveals he was not actually present in the smithy yet can celebrate the resonance of the moment: I can still hear it. Modern technology permitted Devlin’s nephew 8000 miles away in Canada to share the happening via the cellular phone held in a pose appropriate for a smithy high as a horse’s ear!  Heaney recalls a line of […]