Heaney describes an age-old process, its material and its product. A parallel is suggested: the composition of a poem is as complex and demanding of energy, skill and commitment as the practice being described. In Ireland súgán is a kind of straw rope with a variety of uses from farmyard twine to furniture seating. Heaney’s poem follows the traditional twining method. The poet himself, working on the family farm is fully engaged in the process. The jumble of soft raw material is set in a series of sibilants (the fluster of that soft supply) and the gentle dexterity required to unravel it velar plosives (coax () it from the ruck) and feed it into the twining machine. Heaney uses […]