Act Of Union

Heaney offers 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 on the maid of Ireland carries within it the seeds of anger and rebellion. I A birth is imminent(To-night): its symptoms seem human enough: a first movement of contraction, maybe the pulse of a heartbeat. Then allegory steps in: the amniotic fluids/ ‘waters’ surrounding the foetus and preparing to burst wear the guise of Ulster: […]