A Sofa in the Forties

  A sequence of four poems set in the living area of the Heaney family‚Äôs farm at Mossbawn. Heaney reflected on this early period of his life in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech: In the nineteen forties, when I was the eldest child of an ever-growing family in rural Co. Derry, we crowded together in the three rooms of a traditional thatched farmstead and lived a kind of den-life. Make-believe required specific individual contributions that led to family solidarity: The children are all positioned on the sofa In a line, kneeling/ Behind each other. Whilst there is already a hierarchy (eldest down to youngest) they all demonstrate a common, energetic purpose: Elbows going like pistons, for this was a train. […]