Heaney’s choice of title within the context of Human Chain, awakens multiple associations: his mother and father, so long a couple, no longer exist either as a pair or as individuals; two earlier links of a human chain have been disconnected as part of a human process to which Heaney himself will be subjected. The two vignettes are like short clips of moving film: the mother’s movement slow, dignified, inexorable and orderly; the father’s fast-moving, characterised by a kind of hyper-activity, and generating insecurity in the youngster watching. i Who is this ghostly appearance engaged in the domestic routine of a rural Northern Irish farm where even ashes have further use: it is the erect figure of a woman on en route to the ash-pit , […]