Seamus Heaney - Station Island – the Sequence(09) IX - Poetry Analysis

Station Island – the Sequence IX

IX A hunger-striker’s ghost guarantees a restless night for the pilgrim who is operating at varying levels of wakefulness. A voice describes in graphic detail the effects of self-imposed fasting: brain dried like spread turf/ stomach ( ) a cinder ( ) tightened and cracked and evidence of bodily haemorrhage: Often/ I was dogs on my own track/ Of blood on wet grass. The solitude of the hunger-striker’s cell provides a kind of sanctuary: an ambush/ Stillness I felt safe in settled around me. The pictures he conjures up are of the place where he committed the paramilitary assassination for which he is imprisoned: the fateful car journey (me in the back … like a white-faced groom);his imminent murderous intent: A hit-man on the brink, emptied and deadly. When his body was later released for burial, at once dead yet still sentient, he felt the same unreality as when I […read more….]