Seamus Heaney - Bye-Child - Poetry Analysis


Bye-Child He was discovered in the henhouse/ Where she had confined him. He was incapable of saying anything. Articles in Ireland’s Mourne Observer of September and October 1956 outlined the extraordinary discovery of 7 year-old Kevin Murphy kept in isolation in an outhouse almost since birth and subsequently the conviction of his 45 year-old mother Margaret Murphy, imprisoned for 9 months for the wilful neglect of Kevin, her fifth child. Kevin was born illegitimate. ‘Although his short life-time has consisted of continuous physical and emotional deprivation, the child has been able to transcend his kennel prison and achieved a hard and bright lucidity of spirit … He has journeyed ‘beyond patience’ and beyond the limitations of human ‘love’, and identified in the still and changing moon the constancy and grace, the love and loveliness his earthly mother lacked’ (MP124); The poetic eye pans camera-like across an ostensibly ordinary 1950s rural […read more….]