Seamus Heaney - Helmet - Poetry Analysis


Helmet   The poem focuses on an Boston fire-fighter’s headgear, symbolic of a breed seen as god-like ‘supermen’ risking their lives for society. It was presented ‘formally’ to Heaney in an informal ceremony in Boston. The poem celebrates human solidarity. A helmet; its owner; its provenance: a Boston fireman’s gift; the name printed boldly on its spread / Fantailing brim / … shoulder-awning. The eye is drawn upwards. The helmet shows evidence of its energetic use and design: Tinctures of sweat and hair oil /… withered sponge and shock-absorbing webs; the dome of the helmet: not crown (civilian) but crest, for crest it is (proud classical symbol of ‘military’ prowess) with its very particular construction; above all strong, steel-ridged and individual: hand-tooled, hand-sewn. It is held together at the top with a reminder of military armour of the past: a little bud of beaten copper. A badged helmet ceremoniously presented […read more….]