In Memoriam Francis Ledwidge

KILLED IN FRANCE IN JULY 1917 Heaney pays tribute to a poet whose life followed an enigmatic pattern and who though Irish through and through was killed in First World War action in Flanders fighting for the British. Heaney’s elegy falls into four parts: the ‘vigilant bronze’; the aspiring country boy; the white-faced Tommy; the poetic voice stifled. Part 1: in anticipation of Francis Ledwidge Heaney takes us back to his childhood and his first sight as a seven year old of the sculpture standing on Portstewart’s First World War Memorial. The effigy (bronze soldier) is adjusting his standard-issue uniform (hitches a bronze cape) textured (crumples stiffly) to mimic First World War conditions (in imagined wind) totally suited to the […]