Two Stick Drawings

Two poems and three childhood scenarios in two of which walking-sticks play a prominent role. 1 Heaney reflects on the contrasting behaviours of two girls with whom he mixed as a child. The first (Claire O’Reilly) had access to a stick (her granny’s), ideally shaped (crook-necked) for reaching up on autumnal blackberry-picking expeditions (snare the highest briars) – to Claire’s thinking the least accessible plants for short people were top priority (always grew the ripest blackberries).  The second girl (Persephone) was less self-disciplined and less intelligent (in the halfpenny place compared to Claire), heedless of regulation (she’d trespass and climb gates) or danger (walk the railway). Heaney recalls the lyrical mix of railway cutting and nature (where sootflakes blew into […]