Seamus Heaney - Nonce Words - Poetry Analysis

Nonce Words

Nonce Words   The title reference is elusive but at its simplest the piece urges celebration of ’the time being’, the ‘to-be-going-on-with’. At an instant when the poet is tested by mortality issues he takes the decision to savour the privilege of being alive. In a collection that explores metaphysical issues, bringing us face to face with ‘Mick Joyce in Heaven’, with the otherworldliness of ‘George Seferis in the Underworld’ and Dantesque references to  the underworld tunnels of the London Tube in the collection’s title-poem, Nonce Words places us as passenger to an ageing poet suddenly fearful for his own underground journey. A symptom of old-age causes a lapse of memory: a missed turning, an alternative route. Seasonable weather (a pre-Christmas cold snap) is recalled with great lyricism: Sun on ice/ white floss/ on reed and bushes; then a beautiful poetic device: the bridge iron-cast/ in an Advent silence (the […read more….]