The power, texture and formats of flowing water present Heaney with the challenge of transposing the visual turbulence and disorder of a waterfall into words. Feel and finish are important in a poem that deploys a wide range of sense data. Heaney clarifies the process in the final triplet. The poet’s attention has followed a water course (burn) to a point above a waterfall where the pressure of water overwhelms it (drowns steadily its own downpour).  A maelstrom confusion of textures and light-effects is added (helter-skelter of muslin and glass); unseen obstacles cause skids and go-slows that throw up frothy soap-like suds. The cataract generates contradictory momentum (acceleration … braking). The irresistible gravitational effects injected at the moment the water […]