The Flight Path

The Flight Path poems make a considerable contribution to the collection. Heaney selects a title suggestive of set routines that expose countervailing forces – movement across space and time, guided movement, movement determined by outside forces and personal time-lines. The metaphorical implications of ‘taking flight’ are also represented, not least the spiritual uplift expressed in the final line. In the six-poem sequence the planned course of an aircraft acts as a metaphor for the journey linking his early life with academic positions that took him to and from the USA  linking with a life-journey that also took him from Belfast to the Irish Republic in 1972 into a life of self-employed poet. The clockwork of events led an unpleasant confrontation […]