The Riverbank Field

after Aeneid vi, 704-I5, 748-5I Heaney dips into literature, tracking back to Classical author Virgil of around 30 BC. References to his Aenied vi much cherished by Heaney from his Sixth Form studies onwards will provide him with some opportunity to show-case his own translation skills. The poem is far from a literary exercise however setting the poet firmly in his mid-Ulster landscape around Castledawson. His local Riverbank Field alongside the Moyola is deemed every bit as perfect as Virgil’s paradise. Scholarly translation (what Loeb gives) depicts Virgil’s Elysium alone. Heaney will create a watery fusion of classical mythology and mid-Ulster fact (I’ll confound the Lethe in Moyola). His Aeneas-like perambulation selects familiar place-names (Back Park … Grove Hill … Long […]