Saint Francis and the Birds

In the footsteps of the Irish literary giant of Synge on Aran Heaney celebrates a much revered Catholic icon. The landscape of a weather-beaten island off the south-west Irish coast gives way to the mild calm of a southere European setting where inspired by birds flying around the parvis of a meridional church Heaney honours a saint whose relationship with the natural world is not dissimilar to his own relationship with words. Both he and Francis have a message to transmit. In a scene where the eponymous Francis preached love to the birds Heaney reworks the friar’s mystical gift of communication, weaving words and birds into a surreal animation: having listened they took off, hovered for an instant (fluttered) before […]