Act Of Union

Allegorizing on the pun of ‘union’ as an act of sexual as well as political ‘congress’, Heaney reflects on a historical enactment imposed upon Ireland by the British government in 1801 and the gap between what was anticipated in Westminster at the time and the turbulent reality it has delivered. Heaney offered insights to DOD (p 169-70): The ‘speaker in the poem’, whoever he is, is deeply aware of his implication in being ‘imperially male’. He lies like the island of Britain beside an expectant mother island who has her back turned to him. He’s experienced a certain guilt at having caused the pregnancy. Far from creating a bond, the child born of union forced upon the maid of Ireland […]