Station Island – the Sequence V

  The poet encounters three figures who have influenced his personal development. The first is with an old man finding forward momentum difficult: his hands, like soft paws rowing, who groped for and warded off the air ahead. He is identified first by name and then by schoolmaster status: Barney … Master. Murphy’s debilitated shuffle and weakened voice are shadows of his former self: bulling in sudden rage all over again. Respectfully Heaney fell in behind, knowing his place, a lesser mortal, like a man lifting swathes at a mower’s heels. Murphy’s sockless feet are reminiscent of Nature exhibits in the Primary classroom where he worked: the dried broad bean that split its stitches in the display jar. The pilgrim’s polite opening […]