Heaney’s trout of Death of a Naturalist (1966) possessed the lightning reactions of a missile. In complete contrast the indolent perch can be observed in the Bann’s clear waters lying stock-still on its water-perch, in its favoured location near the clay bank at a spot where light effects reflected in the water are never still: alder-dapple and waver. Heaney spells out their long-term presence in his consciousness and their ‘style’: known in his community as ‘grunts’; lumpy, misshapen water dwellers (flood-slub); of diminutive size (runty); ever putting off the next move (ready); at home in a home-from-home of God-like splendour: the river’s glorified body. In a water-zone where traffic should be fluid (passable through) the perch obstruct the way ahead […]