At Banagher

An unexpected alter-ego of a kind – Heaney recognises an alternative embodiment of his own vocation. From his travels around Co. Derry he picks out an itinerant tradesman emblematic of old Ireland and detects similarities between himself and this wandering seamster. Just as the tailor has a way with clothes so the poet has a way with words – they both spend their time making up, unpicking, altering and putting back together. Without any warning (then all of a sudden) poetic charge can enter the poetic consciousness (appears to me) – on this occasion a remnant of old Ireland, a sharer of Heaney’s ancestry who mirrors in figurative form many of the poet’s traits (journeyman tailor who was my antecedent). […]