The first poem of Field Work immediately distances Heaney from the rueful words of time lost and missed opportunity in Exposure the final poem of North. Heaney’s direction has changed: he has discovered the first person plural and a snatch of pleasure in the company of friends. He is not yet sure whether the line he has drawn under Northern Ireland and Belfast will hold good but the omens are favourable beyond the Province’s borders. In the poems preceding the ‘Glanmore Sonnets’ it is worth considering how each individual lyric, elegy and meditative piece contributes to Heaney’s barely veiled relief at having severed his ties with Northern Ireland. The title offers a vital clue to the activity in which Heaney […]