Settings xiv

  The ‘Settings’ sequence presents a chain of backdrops against which personal events and dramas were played out. Within the dynamic of Seeing Things Heaney  deliberately swooped on anything that stimulated memory or association (DOD 320),  willingly transported back by the poems that ‘came on’ to the sites and moments of primary experience; his aim is to credit the ‘marvels’ he failed to recognize first time round. The railway cutting close to Heaney’s childhood home in Mossbawn becomes the melting-pot in which his future was being formed. An ‘ordinary’ afternoon from the 1940s awakens within Heaney a sense of the extraordinary and is treated with classical splendour – a boy standing on his local railway trackfigured as an innocent abroad (seraph) […]