Keeping Going

  A ‘sandwich’ of six poems dedicated to the poet’s younger brother Hugh. Whilst the top and the tail are warm, compassionate and palatable pieces, the ‘filling’ is disturbing. HV(p164) ‘the poem is in part an investigation of the qualities that go to make up that sort of emotional stamina (remaining equable/ living in peace with his neighbours), in part an overview of the atrocious conditions which make the stoic response an heroic one’ Heaney’s views of brother Hugh were formed in childhood: 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 (Heaney […]