Station Island – the Sequence II

Heaney’s self-scrutiny is pursued in his encounter with the ghost of William Carleton (see below) on the road to Lough Derg. Carleton’s emphasis concerns politics and social turbulence. Pausing on the journey (parked on a high road)and savouring the sights and sounds of nature around him Heaney’s preoccupations are interrupted: something came to life in the driving mirror. The ghost visitor is quickly recognised: by the urgency of his gait; his rural garb (overcoat and boots), his physical characteristics (bareheaded, big), his purposefulness (determined) and his bustling confidence (sure haste along the crown of the road). The ‘man’ generates a knee-jerk response from the challenged poet: I was suddenly out of the car. He comes face-to-face with this aggravated figure […]