Casting and Gathering

  for Ted Hughes A river marks the uncrossed line between two fly fishermen who, when their turn comes to comment, represent very different attitudes – the poem takes on an elegaic tone. Heaney does not tell us who is who though we do know that he ‘accompanied’ fellow poet Ted Hughes and artist-friend  Barrie Cooke on some of their joint expeditions. He delves far back in time (years and years ago) reflecting on their irreconcilable viewpoints: these sounds took sides. On one bank, behold a man whose fishing-fly speaks for him:  green silk tapered cast went whispering through the air), a symbol of calm abundance (saying hush and lush), unconstrained (entireIy free), at home in every rural setting (the hayfield […]