Funeral Rites

In a 1962 commentary Heaney referred to Funeral Rites as a dream of forgiveness, the dream of the possibility of forgiveness; His three panneled sequence pursues angles associated with death and burial moving from family wakes via the uncontrolled violence of the Troubles into myth and legend. Ultimately the sequence yearns for a solution to the unbreakable cycle of murder and revenge and suggests that a Norse hero might hold the key. In a sense Heaney ‘s vision is prophetic: history will demonstrate almost twenty years later that the road to peace and reconciliation will by definition require that some acts remain unavenged and that irreconcilable factions talk together. I Heaney reflects on his presence at traditional Irish Catholic family […]