In the Attic

This four poem sequence eventually reaches its own starting-point. This apparent non-sense is explained by the stages that set Heaney in compositional reverse: a poet begins to notice within himself some of the drawbacks of the ageing process relating to memory; he recalls his grandfather who demonstrated similar memory-loss in his own life-time, a mental confusion relating to a character from the children’s novel Treasure Island; the novel acts as a metaphor reflecting aspects of the poet’s existence; the mistakenly identified character is part of a key event in the original book. Turn it all round and Heaney’s chosen format is revealed! Its final triplet confirms Heaney’s deeper structural intent. In what was originally Human Chain’s ultimate poem, he chose to return us […]