Ancestral Photograph

  A brown-tinted study of the family’s past is to be removed from the wall where it has been hanging. The study is a revealing snap-shot of the person it depicts conjuring up three generations of the Heaney human chain. The poet transposes the photo into words: that of a proud Irish countryman (with jaws that puff) of seemingly indestructible build (round and solid as a turnip), his lifeless, matt (dead) eyes (fixed by the camera’s shutter) like those of a statue, the facial features suggestive of a dour, overbearing nature: upper lip/ Bullies the heavy mouth down to a droop. His accessories (a bowler-hat and well-to-do watch-chain of silver … like a hoop) lend him a theatrical stage Irishman […]