The Butts

Crossings xxxiii from Seeing Things of 1991 is closely linked to The Butts. Both poems are set specifically at The Wood farm inherited from great-uncle Hughie into which the family moved from Mossbawn following the death of the poet’s brother Christopher in 1953. In the earlier poem the removal of his father’s personal effects from the deserted farmhouse (what had been emptied out) had completed an ‘unroofing’ process that closed the door on a chapter of Heaney’s life that had included parents (turning your back and leaving), Those feelings have lain and matured over nearly a decade. His father’s ‘plain, big, straight ordinary’ design for the house he built and lived in as a widower are reflected in the lack […]