The Wood Road

The poem provides a series of dramatic visual images that Heaney associates with the road outside his second family home running northwards from Bellaghy past Mullhollandstown. The Wood Road is as it is and was, maintained, perhaps, but unchanged: resurfaced, never widened. The first story recalls the 1950’s period prior to the so-called ‘Troubles’; a night scene: as when Bill Pickering lay with his gun … Nighwatching in uniform, a member of the infamous protestant  B-Specials. Heaney captures both scene and atmosphere as if filmed in black and white: Moonlight on rifle barrels… a van/ Roadblocking the road. He comments sardonically on the patrol’s self-important, toy-soldier mentality: Special militiaman … his staunch patrol/ In profile, sentry-loyal, depicting an ‘epic’ incident on a burlesque level: a whole […]