The Lift

A touching, much admired poem, filled with a warm humanity for individuals and groups; the piece follows Heaney’s aunt Mary’s coffin on its final journey to the graveyard. Mary passed away in the mid 1970s. Paradoxically spring is showing signs of life at the very moment an old woman has died. Her funeral is well supported by the local community – her cortège filled the road. Heaney makes a link between close-knit rural Ulster communities of the period  and the ritual processions of rural Brittany (remote familiar  women and men in caps walking four abreast. In the midst of the Troubles the gathering attracts the attention of the forces of order seeking to enforce restrictions -The solemn proceedings are outrageously […]