A short piece dedicated to fellow Irishman Paul Muldoon (b.1951); eminent Irish poet; Pulitzer Prizefor Poetry; T.S. Eliot Prize winner;Oxford Professor of Poetry (1999 – 2004). The bird is an innocent victim of Man’s hunting instincts. Correspondences with the victims of contemporary sectarian violence emerge strongly and the poet raises a critical finger against injustice, his compassion evident in both the literal and allegorical contexts. Heaney’s speaker is removing the feathers from the duck in preparation for the cooking-pot. Its death by shooting caused suffering: It had been badly shot. The plucker has discovered the duck’s voice-box / … in the broken windpipe; its vocal function is likened to a flute stop. The man’s response is both unexpected and moving: […]