Personal Helicon

Personal Helicon dedicated to Michael Longley, co-member of Hobsbaum’s Belfast poetry Group in the 1960s. In the collection’s final poem Heaney delves into the Irish ‘underlay’ (things that make Ulster magically special and unique for him) revealing his affection for a common feature of the damp South Derry landscape. He identifies the wells of his childhood as sources of poetic inspiration (his Personal Helicon). Still a part-time poet he reflects on the transition from childhood to the here-and-now and whilst acknowledging a debt to wells reveals that he has outgrown his childish pursuits. The youngster was fascinated by wells and old pumps that no parental cautions could ( ) keep me from, particularly on account of the winching gear (buckets […]