The single letter monogram stands for Russian poet and essayist Osip Mandelstam, an iconic figure much admired by Heaney. The poet allegorizes his conviction that men of Mandelstam’s stature ensure the truth will always be heard. Heaney’s exemplar is able to unravel complicated data despite an impairment that to an outsider renders his task impossible (deaf phonetician): the sound input he cannot hear is replaced by touch, his hand / Over the dome of a speaker’s skull. Experience and ingenuity have made the impossible possible: he differentiates between each diphthong and … vowel / By the bone vibrating to the sound. The speaker slows the revolutions of the world globe he is holding: (A globe stops spinning) to find […]