The Stone Verdict

Heaney indicated that he had strongly considered The Stone Verdict as a title for the collection (DOD290). Elegising his father Patrick Heaney, the poet imagines an alternative memorial to the headstone which stands in Bellaghy churchyard. In a collection that bristles with classical references he turns to a classical source and builds a burial monument that elevates his father to divine status. Heaney places the ‘shadow’ of Patrick Heaney in the judgment place,  not in ‘particular judgment’ before God post mortem but before a ‘jury’ of his mid-Ulster peers, instantly recognisable to those who lived or worked with him with his iconic ash-plant (stick in his hand) and head-gear (broad hat) – the same acutely sensitive Patrick Heaney (maimed by […]