Veteran’s Dream

One of a string of individuals memorialized in Heaney’s poems provided by his 1940s neighbourhood. The warm-hearted child that Heaney was is reflected In Veteran’s Dream by his compassion for the physical and mental state of retired soldier Mr Dickson, my neighbour whose post-traumatic stress disorder born of Great War experiences in the trenches rendered his life not dream but nightmare. The time setting is established by the man’s experiences: (he) saw the last cavalry charge/ Of the war and got the first gas. He takes his injuries with him into his subconscious memory world, walking with a limp/ Into his helmet and khaki. Some near-death experiences are of distant concern: gas has yellowed his buttons; cavalry attack that leaves […]