The Baler

‘Against the cyclical, seasonal processes there is apprehension that our partaking in them is limited’ says Nick Laird. The solid, repetitive sound of a vital piece of agricultural machinery delivering its annual farming bounty unearths deeper feelings in Heaney for whom a sense of mortality has crept in: about being and dying; about self; about a specific friend in memoriam. Lying in his convalescent bed Heaney has been aware of a constant (all day … ongoing) background thud (clunk) familiar to him (baler) as unexciting as the heartbeat (cardiac-dull) and unappreciated as vital (taken for granted).  The after effect of stroke has held him in a semi-conscious state all day (evening before I came to); full consciousness restores fond memory (hearing […]