Faber & Faber £7.99 (85pp) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Human Chain, By Seamus Heaney
Friday 15 July 2011
Typically, beautifully, the 12-line title poem of a volume that embodies Heaney's return from illness begins with a "close-up" of aid workers on TV swinging "bags of meal" one to another as soldiers fire.
It drops into memory and the "one-two upswing" followed by "stoop and drag and drain" of loading grain onto a farm trailer. These human types of "letting go" "will not come again./ Or it will, once. And for all."
So much in so little, with even punctuation hard at work. It sounds superfluous to praise the poet on this form. Just read him.
Here, images of limbos and transitions, crossings and afterlives – some in his haunting variations on Virgil – both mark and close the distance between people, generations, eras and, profoundly, life and death.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
Guardians Of The Galaxy, review: Marvel-lite movie feels half-hearted
Fifty Shades of Grey film stills
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia