Glanmore Sonnets – 6

                                                                                              VI Perhaps Heaney is recalling his ‘wood kerne’ (one of those Catholic rebels who, during the earlier course of Irish history, took to the woods when defeated, to prepare for further resistance) in ‘Exposure’, the final poem of ‘North’. Sitting in his workroom the poet conjures up a mid-Ulster folk hero said to have ridden his motorbike daringly through extreme winter conditions in 1947, a ‘wild goose’ figure (a second group of rebels who supported the defeated Catholic cause). With this in mind the whole sonnet may be read as an allegory of minority Catholic repression in Northern Ireland challenged. Heaney introduces an anonymous man (He) the mirror image of himself who has lived tongue-tied in an Irish sectarian […]