The Digging Skeleton

Scholars and students have long set themselves the challenge of translation. Heaney show-cases his skills in this version after Baudelaire. Heaney is loyal to Baudelaire’s picture of human misery and his rejection of belief in a better life after death. I The speaker is strolling along the dusty quays of the Seine, past the stalls of Parisian ‘bouquinistes’ still to be found there more than 150 years later. He has chanced upon anatomical plates as he flicks the pages of books yellowed like mummies Slumbering in forgotten crates. The sight of the human body reduced to skeleton possesses an odd beauty, its illustrator deemed gravely sensitive to the sad Mementoes of anatomy; the plates represent a form of art: mysterious […]