A New Song

The poem spins a web comprising South Derry place names, issues of Irish history (dispossession, uprising), a vanished world, things that happen in real-life (universal: girl-meets-boy; particular: a flood event). Its phonological content adds to the complexity. To help unravel the piece’s message NC refers to the Heaney’s essay ‘1972’ in Preoccupations: ‘discussing his begin­nings as a poet, he writes, ‘I think of the personal and Irish pieties (his roots) as vowels and the literary awarenesses nourished by English (his degree, his working language) as consonants. My hope is that the poems will be voc­ables adequate to my whole experience.’ ’ (NC42); Heaney’s title announces a new music bidding to retrieve a lost domain: a song to be heard, the […]