The Clip

In a touching sonnet that reveals much about the poet’s own sensitive, observant and imaginative nature Heaney outlines a feature of rural Irish community life, describing his first barber shop situated in the tiny home of a villager (Harry Boyle’s one-room, one-chimney house) where Harry practises his trade and lives his private life (with its settle bed). The villagers refer to the hair-cut by its colloquial title – ‘a clip’. Heaney’s memories of the experience are rich in sense data: what he could not see he could feel and hear (cold smooth creeping steel and snicky scissors); what he could see (the strong-armed chair) held him firmly in its grip. The protective cloth placed around his neck spurred his fertile […]