The Crossing

  (Inferno, Canto 111, lines 82-129) Seamus Heaney tops and tails Seeing Things with his own versions of passages from classical masterpieces, starting with ‘The Golden Bough’ borrowed from the pre-Christian classical mythology of Virgil and ending with a Dante passage from the Christian era. In both cases the narrative is not Heaney’s as such but he employs all his compositional skills to produce a polished translation. In conversation with DOD (p319) Heaney explained how the collection’s texts linked up:  the relation­ship between individual poems in the different sections has some­ thing of the splish-splash, one-after-anotherness of stones skittering and frittering across water. Thus the collection’s themes, motifs, moods and key words pop up at intervals just as a flat […]