Squarings xxxix

  Heaney offers his reader a clue as to how to ‘enter’ the Squarings poems: You could think of every poem in ‘Squarings’ as the peg at the end of a tent-rope reaching up into the airy structure, but still with purchase on something earth­ier and more obscure (DOD 320). Visiting a site on Ulster’s north Antrim coast, iconic both for its folkloric connections (Giant) and its extraordinary geology (Causeway), Heaney focuses on his wife’s reactions and ponders its impact on her. Whether from visual memory or snapshot, wife Marie is seated in the ‘Wishing Chair’, distant and preoccupied (far-eyed), exposed to the chill volcanic rock (cold) yet regal (throne), sitting sensibly (the small of your back erect)  and wisely […]