Seamus Heaney - Maighdean Mara - Poetry Analysis

Maighdean Mara

Maighdean Mara For Sean Oh-Eocha The report of a drowning and its circumstances prompted Heaney to represent the happening as the action of a sea-spirit returning to her element rather than that of an unfortunate woman driven to despair and suicide by her narrow, hard-hearted judges. Heaney knew of associated mythology identifying female selkies, said to make excellent wives, but, because their true home was the sea, often be seen gazing longingly at the ocean. If she found her skin she would immediately return to her true home in the sea. Sometimes, a selkie maiden was taken as a wife by a human man and she mothered several children by him. In some stories it was one of her children who discovered her sealskin depicted in the sequence as ‘garments’ (often unwitting of its significance) and brought about her departure. A selkie could only remain in contact with a human […read more….]