Settings xxii

  By and large the ‘Settings’ sequence presents a chain of backdrops against which personal events and dramas were played out. Within the dynamic period preceding Seeing Things when Heaney deliberately swooped on anything that stimulated memory or association (DOD 320),  he allowed himself to be transported back by the poems that ‘came on’ to the sites, subjects and emotions of early experience, whence he weighs up what ‘in time … was extra, unforeseen and free’ (Markings I). This poem breaks the mould. Heaney focuses on the ‘spirit’. Following his current ‘method’ of seeing things through fresh eyes, Heaney soul-searches, setting the current piece on a higher abstract and metaphysical plane. He refers seven unanswered questions to a highly respected […]