Route 110

A much admired sequence of 12 poems celebrating the arrival of first grand-child, Anna Rose, born to son, Christopher and his wife Jenny. Heaney collapses the distance between the mythical and the personal, setting out Aeneas-like on a journey of his own. I The journey begins in a dusty, down-at-heel (it smells of dry rot and disinfectant) haunt of schoolboys and students of Heaney’s youth. Its trading purpose is revealed by succeeding clues. An employee enters wearing a visibly grubby outer garment,a stained front-buttoned shopcoat; of dark dried-out sere brown, edged with crimson piping. This is a second-hand bookshop with a Classics bay.  Heaney adds further detail: she is single-minded (Eyes front); she is juggling money (absorbed in her coin-count within the slack marsupial vent/ Of her change-pocket); she is toying […]