On the Road

The Sweeney Redevivus poems are fascinating in terms of voicing. In his notes Heaney indicates that they are ‘voiced for Sweeney’ but this does not and cannot exclude the poet’s participation. Each poem resembles a piece of music with a background accompaniment and two voices that pick up the melody in turn or together; the mood of each piece varies as does its ensemble effect on the listener’s ear and the reader’s sensibility. Heaney will confirm he is on the path to renewal. He is adept at titles. The speaker is on a literal journey behind the wheel of his car. At the same time, in this his ‘book of changes’ (line 70), the poet is on his way, ‘on […]