Funeral Rites

In a 1962 commentary Heaney referred to Funeral Rites as a dream of forgiveness, the dream of the possibility of forgiveness; His 3-poem sequence pursues angles associated with death and burial moving from family wakes via the uncontrolled violence of the Troubles into myth and legend. Ultimately the sequence yearns for a solution to the unbreakable cycle of murder and revenge and suggests that a Norse hero might hold the key. In a sense Heaney ‘s vision is prophetic: history will demonstrate almost twenty years later that the road to peace and reconciliation will by definition require that some acts remain unavenged and that irreconcilable factions talk together. I Heaney reflects on his presence at traditional Irish Catholic family funerals […]