‘Had I not been awake I would have missed it’.

Heaney describes the moment when Nature’s external show of energy kick-started his own internal engine. The poem recalls the aftermath of serious illness (the poet had suffered a mild stroke in 2006 in a Donegal guesthouse) also reflecting Heaney’s in-built uncertainty as to where his next poetic spark might come from. Sleep inducing treatment has perhaps made moments of consciousness more fleeting; this ‘reawakening’ generates a new-found impetus that replaces a mind-set of physical and mental frailty, even fear. Heaney recalls a moment pivotal to his recovery. ‘Had I not been awake I would have missed it’. He heard the sounds and felt the buffeting of Nature’s strength, sufficient for his sense-memory to picture the scene: a wind that rose and […]