In the Attic

This four poem sequence circles around a young character from children’s fiction: initially the trials, tribulations and conscience that assail a youngster at sea exposed to terror and stress within his short fictional life. The sea-faring metaphor is extended to Heaney’s workspace to illustrate the interplay of reality and imagination triggered by an equally tumultuous existence. Enter thirdly a member of Heaney’s own human chain – his maternal grandfather (also featured in Haw Lantern’s The Old Team and the Clearances sonnets in memory of his mother) who confirmed memory-lapse as one of the drawbacks of the ageing process. Finally Heaney himself, showing symptoms of age in his turn but not done yet! Its final triplet confirms Heaney’s deeper structural intent. […]