An Invocation

The poem was published in the London Review of Books on August 6 1992. In this three-poem elegiac sequence Heaney invokes hard-line Scottish communist poet Hugh MacDiarmid; he recognises a kindred empathist for causes (with the difference, perhaps that MacDiarmid reacted much more radically than Heaney in his own Scottish nationalist way against the perceived injustices of government from Whitehall). ¬†The pieces are written in memoriam. Heaney seeks a gesture of recognition (Incline to me, MacDiarmid, out of Shetland) acknowledging that due regard might be hard come by from a Scot as uncompromising as the landscape around him (stone-eyed from stone-gazing), a boozer (sobered up), a man of natural¬† ill-temper (thrawn). Heaney is not seeking the acknowledgement of MacDiarmid the […]