The Lift

A touching, much admired poem, filled with the poet’s warm humanity for individuals and groups in memoriam; the piece follows Heaney’s sister Ann’s coffin on its final journey to the graveyard. Ann passed away in 2002. Paradoxically spring is showing signs of life (first green braird) at the very moment a cherished sister is being laid to rest. Her funeral procession is well attended by the local community (filled the road). Heaney makes a link between the close-knit folk of mid-Ulster and images of the ritual burial processions of rural Brittany (Breton pardon) with the well-ordered formality (remote familiar women and men in caps walking four abreast) he associates with Celtic/ Catholic tradition. The drumming reverberations of post-Troubles Northern Ireland […]