Gifts of Rain

Widely regarded as one of the collection’s major pieces, the title introduces the element at the source of all life (Water is certainly a ‘shape-changer’ MP99), dominant feature of Irish climate, determinant of landscape and symbol of cleansing and renewal. Heaney wrote the poem in Berkeley: images, descriptions and associations stem from his Irish memory bank. Allegory is in-built: Heaney’s Ulster is under threat of political and social inundation and he is in ‘inward, broody’ mode. He returns to his home-ground especially the cherished Moyola river of his neighbourhood . I Prolonged rainfall associated with bounty (the Gifts of rain) becomes a recipe for flooding: whether full spate (Cloudburst) or continuous steady downpour now for days. Enter a living creature […]