The Digging Skeleton

Scholars and students have long set themselves the challenge of translation. Heaney show-cases his skills in this version  after Baudelaire. He is loyal to Baudelaire’s picture of human misery and his rejection of belief in a better life after death. In questioning the poetic charge generated in Heaney’s mind by a French poem from 1875 it is perhaps enough to suggest that he was only too conscious of the Irish labouring to dig up potatoes that would poison up to a million of them during the Great Irish Famine only a decade before Baudelaire’s poem was published. The poverty and starvation of a whole race is not curtailed, both poets suggest, by death. I The speaker is strolling along the […]