The Otter

A man who adores his wife body and soul, cooped up on an American University campus five thousand miles from home is suddenly missing her acutely. Heaney relishes her beauty, intensity and sexual appeal as if she were there beside him before the poetic charge fades. He addresses his very personal message to her via an inventive zoomorphic picture using a creature not usually seen as a symbol of love or desire. Moments are memorable, catchable, describable, fleeting, retainable. Presence even in absentia has a permanence and intensity recreated and embedded in the eternal present of a poem. Pictures of Marie Heaney ‘skinny dipping’ (hence perhaps her ‘pelt’ of the final couplet) in a Tuscan pool trigger emotional and erotic […]