‘Digging’ was composed ‘at home’ at The Wood in 1964. Pen in hand the poet is sitting behind a window when the sight of his father provides the poetic charge. He focuses initially on the hand holding his squat pen, the symbolic tool of the trade to which he aspires. Compared with the elegance of the spades used by father and grandfather, his pen is unglamorously short and stubby. Heaney lends the pen a small-arms image, warm and reassuring in his grasp, snug as a gun … designed to fire bullets. The world below Heaney’s window is ‘on screen’. His attention has been attracted by the sound of digging: a clean rasping sound … into gravelly ground. The man bent […]