The Errand

The second of  consecutive poems in which Heaney recalls incidents involving his deceased parents in particular his father. Heaney had left the family home (after seven years of boarding-school experience in Derry) to go to university after which he worked, married, travelled and brought up children in locations distant from his roots. His memories of those early days are crystal-clear. The child Heaney shows an early flash of the intelligence he will demonstrate abundantly as schoolboy and scholar: the father gives his eager-beaver son a job he wants done without delay: ‘On you go now! Run, son, like the devil’ ; he is to pass on an instruction: ‘tell your mother to try/ To find me a bubble for the […]

Seamus Heaney Human Chain 2010

Seamus Heaney – Human Chain – 2010 Human Chain is Seamus Heaney’s thirteenth collection since Death of a Naturalist in 1966. His work over nearly half a century has lost none of its accessibility, erudition and vitality. The textual commentaries that follow seek to tease out what his poems are intimating in Human Chain. Of course, the poet’s ‘message’ will have started life as an essentially personal one, not intended primarily for his reader; accordingly, there are moments when some serious unravelling is required. In the case of a poet as accomplished, complex and focused as Heaney, the rewards for persevering are at once enriching, fortifying and hugely pleasurable.  There are issues, too, beyond ‘the text, the whole text and nothing but the text’: […]