Academics on tour and an overnight coach journey turn into personal ordeal. The marathon has reached a new Dawn and brought with it the urge to escape. Allegory is never far away: Heaney in 1969 is entering his ‘wintering out’ phase, biding his time and waiting for other things to come along. A travelling companion lets in the growing daylight: Somebody lets up a blind to reveal a shrub at the window, bright (Glitters), profuse and fresh (a mint of green leaves), buffeted (Pitched and tossed) by the currents of air. Progress through a town is halted by a traffic control (we stopped for lights/ In the centre). The narrative picks out the detail: pigeon-call (clucking); pigeons down /On the […]