Seamus Heaney - Poor Women in a City Church - Poetry Analysis

Poor Women in a City Church

Poor Women in a City Church A study of inner city devotions is inspired by the sight of Catholic women in an unheated Belfast church. The poem creates a canvas that recalls classical paintings of groups of worshippers in like circumstances. Heaney concentrates, first, on light effects: small wax candles melt to light, casting varying shadows as they flicker in marble or creating pinpoints of light on the curvature of shiny, metal surfaces: bright/ Asterisks. The eye-camera moves to an ‘chapel’ devoted to Mother Mary, a revered Catholic figure beloved of women in particular; it comes to rest before the Virgin’s altar; the candles here are caught by more powerful currents of air: Blue flames …. Jerking on wicks. The women present are collectively old, sallow-skinned, chilled, widowed and devoted: Old dough-faced women on their knees with black shawls/ Drawn down tight. The scene lacks both warmth and permanence: candles […read more….]