Weighing In

The title is teasingly equivocal: contestants ‘weigh in’ before a contest; ‘weighing in’ suggests ‘actively taking sides’; ‘weighing’ has to do with balancing one force against another, adding force to an argument so as to tip the balance. Often troubled by his placatory responses to events, there were moments when Heaney’s customary urbanity, generosity of spirit and sense of fair play were tested to the limit. In ‘Weighing In’ he appears to have reached just such a moment. Heaney invites us to envision a 56 lb. weight, an unyielding, inflexible block of solid iron. The Unit of negation is a metaphor for denial and contradiction, bigotry and extremism. Its cast-iron shape (moulded) is generally recognizable: Stamped ( ) With an […]