The Swing

  A sequence evoking a time, a place, a family group and an activity: the 1940s; a large open shed in the rural Heaney farmyard in Northern Ireland; brothers and sisters (the ‘herd life’ Heaney talks about in ‘Sofa in the Forties’) and their mother; using the swing in the family barn. The sequence moves back and forth between the extraordinary and the commonplace, the heavenly and the earthbound, idealized artistic representations and reality. Learning to swing well is a metaphor for learning to lead a successful life. * Youngsters cannot easily use a swing; the poet sets out short-cuts that he and his siblings learned from each other: once launched little effort was required to maintain momentum: Fingertips just […]