Station Island – the Sequence IV

Heaney encounters the ghost of Terry Keenan whom he knew from childhood and who became a missionary father in the tropical rain forests. The certainty of Keenan’s religious convictions conflicts with Heaney’s lapsing/ lapsed status (the pilgrim stands with his backto the religious icons at the outset of the poem). The piece reflects upon religious certainty and the status of the priesthood in Irish society. The irony is that Keenan’s vocation led indirectly to his death. The pilgrim stands hesitantly in the centre one of Station Island’s penitential ‘beds’ my back to the stone pillar and the iron cross. He ispoised to go through the motions of penitential routine: ready to say the dream words (imagined rather than real)I renounce […]