Out of Shot

The poetic process in action: an item with poetic charge emerges on the periphery of a television sequence. The title is suggestive of things ‘seen’ by a poet which by-pass ordinary mortals. Cameras following news-pieces is also record the less obvious. What Heaney has spotted sets his creative spirit in motion. The sonnet links two sets of events involving shock and confusion: the first remembered from Irish history; the second in a contemporary newsreel from the war-stricken Middle-East. The speaker recalls the specific detail of an incident from the past close to Glanmore that provided poetic charge: the month, the time of day and the weather conditions (bell-clear Sunday). He relives the moment: his stance (elbows lodged strut-firm upon a […]