From the Land of the Unspoken

A nameless ‘foreign correspondent’ –let us call him ‘Correspondent’ – reports back on an unnamed land.  For all its anonymity, however, we recognise the voice as ‘Heaney’s and his unspoken nowhere as his own land, the island of Ireland. As it develops the poem will reflect deeply and emotionally on the notion of Irish nationhood. Heaney very much regrets that those who would might have wished to change the face of Irishness failed and still fail to change the ‘language’. Correspondent reports first on a neighbouring ‘elsewhere’ (I have heard of) – read ‘France’ – where something ‘absolute’ emerged from its scientific thinking: a unit of length fixed in a durable bar of platinum, accurate to within a few millimeters […]