A Bat on the Road

The epigraph is borrowed from James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: A batlike soul waking to consciousness of itself in darkness and secrecy and loneliness. The final nouns defining the main ingredients of bat-like existence (shortage of light/ enlightenment; drawing back from human contact; isolation even outsider status) are equally the metaphorical embodiment of the creative spirit, be it a Joyce or a Heaney; these factors count amongst the issues hampering Heaney at this stage in his poetical development. Placed here within a series of poems of transition the bat is a ‘soul-mate’, a liberating spirit. You would (the repeated action perhaps of an anonymous companion on the rural walks of Heaney’s younger days) dislodge bats […]