Seamus Heaney - Hōfn - Poetry Analysis


Hōfn   The omens and warnings of Anything Can Happen and In Iowa ensure that the mere mention of natural phenomena in decline reinforces fear of global threat. The first-person speaker recounts a personal experience over-flying the massive glacier behind the town of Hōfn in south-east Iceland. Heaney does not mince words: The three-tongued glacier has begun to melt. The Icelanders foresee  a bleak scenario: boulder milt (a porte-manteau word  combining ‘melt’ and ‘silt’), produced when liquid momentum sends natural geological debris wallowing across the delta flats and miles-deep shag-ice shifts. Seen from the plane the ‘living’ glacier seems to his untrained eye to be in order ridged and rock-set, old as time. With its Undead grey-gristed earth-pelt, aeon scruff, its textures, the grinding process of ice upon ice and irregular projecting surfaces, it stretches out like skin stripped from an animal. The glacier is hostile to the speaker who […read more….]