In Illo Tempore

The Sweeney Redevivus poems are fascinating in terms of voicing. In his notes Heaney indicates that they are ‘voiced for Sweeney’ but this does not and cannot exclude the poet’s participation. Each poem resembles a piece of music with a background accompaniment and two voices that pick up the melody in turn or together; the mood of each piece varies as does its ensemble effect on the listener’s ear and the reader’s sensibility. From his location on the Dublin sea-front a man shakes his head with disbelief at the success of a religious practices that shaped him as a youngster once upon a time (in illo tempore) and cloned him with countless others. His imagination has settled on one of […]