In Memoriam: Robert Fitzgerald

Heaney composes a sonnet elegising a much respected member of the Harvard Senior Common Room (a ‘giant in the autumn of his reign’) whom the poet, on sabbatical leave in New England, first met in 1979. Fitzgerald died in 1985. Heaney particularly liked him for making him, the Irish rookie abroad, feel so much at home. The first seven lines are solidly earth bound before erupting via a single line of surreal cinematic deconstruction into a cosmic journey – from prehistoric diagram to space odyssey.  Megalithic maze and arrow flight both end up at a single point, the first an inward journey saluting prehistoric erudition the second bearing the soul of Fitzgerald to a merited place amongst the stars. The […]