The humane portrait of a road-worker-superman, at once man of the earth dressed in fit for purpose (The moleskins stiff as bark) and man joined to the earth, driving a heavy pneumatic tool into the carriageway (the drill grafting his wrists/ to the shale). A modest labourer, perhaps, but no pushover: where works have created a chicane for drivers (the surface ( ) weavy) and caution is required, the navvy polices the situation. When camber tilts/ in the slow lane he is in charge: he stands / waving you down. Heaney is familiar with the boggy landscape through which the road passes (The morass the macadam snakes over) and the bog’s voracious appetite for anything that strays onto it: it […]