A Mite-Box

Encouraged by his mother’s example Heaney was a very active member of his local church and served for a period as altar-boy. He later referred to this as a ‘surfeit’ of Catholic training as slowly but inexorably his own faith lapsed. For all his loss of belief the stories and words, parables and liturgy he had learned by heart plus the sounds, smells and church paraphernalia with which he was familiar continued to resonate and emerged whenever poetic charge required. A Mite Box renews the charity theme downsizing it from large-scale international aid of Human Chain to the poet’s experiences as a youngster carrying a collecting-box round the parish in search of donations. As Heaney lies awaiting the return of […]